April 28, 2016

State Senator Joe Markley joins with State Representative Cathy Abercrombie, State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. and independent living advocates for a press conference regarding the proposed elimination of funding for Centers for Independent Living. CT Legislative Office Building April 28,2016.

State Senator Joe Markley joins with State Representative Cathy Abercrombie, State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. and independent living advocates for a press conference regarding the proposed elimination of funding for Centers for Independent Living. CT Legislative Office Building April 28,2016.

Hartford-State Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) today joined other legislators and disability advocates to oppose the elimination of state funding to the Centers for Independent Living proposed in the latest budget submitted by Governor Malloy.

Centers for Independent Living are state funded non-profits that provide services to persons with disabilities such as peer counseling, transportation, independent living skills training, and assistance in from institutions to community-based settings. Many of the employees at the Centers are themselves persons with disabilities.

“The Governor repeatedly chooses to target the needy with his budget cuts, rather than reducing the bloated state bureaucracy,” said Senator Markley. “The Centers for Independent Living provide compassionate aid to people with disabilities and their families throughout the state. The cost of these centers is minimal, the savings they enable significant, and their benefits priceless.

“It is mind-boggling that the governor would repeatedly attack such a small, effective program, when hundreds of millions of dollars can still be saved elsewhere. Eliminating three of the 140 positions at the central office of the Board of Regents would pay offset the entire state cost of these centers.”

There are five Centers for Independent Living in Connecticut in Hartford, Norwich, West Haven, Naugatuck, and Stratford. They receive $528,680 in state funding currently, all of which is cut in the Governor’s proposed budget.

The Connecticut State Independent Living Council (SILC) estimates the Centers for Independent Living serve 17,000 residents yearly. SILC estimates that the Centers for Independent Living save the state $10 million a year by providing care which would otherwise be shifted to more expensive state programs such as Medicaid.

“I fear this cut is penny wise and pound foolish,” continued Senator Markley. “Caring for people with disablities and their caregivers is a core function of state government. If the Centers for Independent Living are cut to the levels the Governor has requested, persons living outside of our most populated urban areas will be left to fend for themselves. The financial burdens of care will then shift back to individuals and families at considerable cost. Many will lose their jobs and be forced to take advantage of much more expensive state programs.”

Funding for the Centers for Independent Living was restored in the Republican alternative budget released Monday.