Governor Cuomo's Counsel Tells Crowd: No Budget Without a Direct Care Wage Increase
ALBANY – More than 1,000 New Yorkers came to the state Capitol today in a final push to have Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature include living wage funding for direct care workers in the final state budget.
At a shoulder-to-shoulder rally in the 2nd Floor War Room, Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David told the crowd the Governor would not accept a budget that doesn’t increase wages for direct care workers. You can see Mr. David’s comments here.
Democrat and Republican legislators from both the Senate and Assembly also spoke, including Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee Chairman David Carlucci (D-Rockland), Assembly Mental Health Committee Chairwoman Aileen Gunther (D-Orange) – both speaking on behalf of the Legislature’s majorities, and Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-Nassau).
While details remain to be worked out, today’s events mean the Governor, Senate and Assembly all agree to fund a wage increase for direct support professionals (DSPs), the trained professionals who support New Yorkers who have autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.
People with developmental disabilities and the workers who support them are in crisis due to the inability of non-profit agencies to pay workers a living wage. Ninety percent of the non-profits’ funding comes from government. Direct care workers are 73 percent women and 55 percent black or Latino.
Photo: Staff from The Arc of Schuyler participate in the rally in Albany.