Who is Doing the Math?

Senseless policy passed in Health & Welfare rules hearing just now. In the Katie Becket Program we will take $1 million out of the pockets of families with disabled
children just to save $200,000 in the budget. This is only the beginning of what I
fear is going to be weeks or months of brutal senseless cuts. 

Look at some of this. $54 million cut from a set of Health and Welfare programs where the recipients of the state funds are all in the private sector. We took $54 million out of Idaho's economy and saved only $11 million in general fund state dollars. And we hurt people with disabilities, cut mental health treatment and left many families desperate. How many jobs were lost? How much expensive state crisis care did we create a need for?

Is someone taking out a calculator to look at what negative impacts some of these cuts will have on the economy? I'm going to be a broken record. A cut that eliminates jobs and dollars, wages, consumer spending and small business income has far more negative impact on the economy than raising income taxes on upper income earners. 

Who is asking the people of Idaho if cuts this deep are the best plan? I have a list of tax exemptions we can do away with. It might be more palatable than cutting our schools 10% to 15%. At some point you cut so deep that the wheels come off and things break. Kids fall behind.

With this seemingly blind frenzy to dismantle state government, who is figuring out where that line of diminishing returns is going to be? How long will it take and how much will it cost us, our kids, our economy, and our state to undo the damage that will be done if Republican leaders' only answers are to lead by severing limbs and cutting it all to the bone.

2 thoughts on “Who is Doing the Math?

  1. Amy Y - January 22, 2010

    I’m assuming you’re referring to the rule that allows DHW to charge parents a premium for the Katie Beckett coverage for their disabled children. In my testimony to the committee, I explained how this is counterproductive as it will only take a few families to 1.) drop their private health insurance which pays first – causing Medicaid to pay for everything; 2.) place just a few children into a facility rather than caring for them at home will completely wipe out any savings and will actually cost hundreds of thousands more. According to DFW, there are 11,000 significantly disabled children living at home, being cared for by parents and about 200 children living in facilities.
    Parents caring for disabled children at home spend hundreds of dollars per month paying for services and items that are not covered by either private health insurance or Medicaid. Often, this is done on a single income because managing the care of a disabled child is a full-time job.

  2. alex neiwirth - January 22, 2010

    Thanks for addressing the damage these cuts will do, if they’re not stopped. Clearly, the sales tax exemptions need to be on the table. Would love to hear more about the ones you’d eliminate.

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