For Gov. Scott, The Disabled Make A Great Photo Op But Don't Deserve State Funding

March 31, 2011 11:41 am ET — Kate Conway

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) claims to be making the tough financial choices that will save Florida from the woes of a multi-billion dollar deficit, but tax cuts he supports could actually deepen the state's budget hole. Instead, Scott is saving money by scrimping on children's education, getting rid of the office tasked with helping the homeless, denying some of Florida's poor families the support of Medicaid, and reducing the availability of unemployment benefits — in the middle of the recession.

So what's sacred? Which groups of vulnerable Floridians will Scott spare? Not those with developmental disabilities. According to the Miami Herald, Scott is planning cuts that will affect group homes and those who work with Floridians that have cerebral palsy, autism and Down Syndrome. And these are no minor cuts: Scott's plan could reduce the amount that providers are able to charge by 15 percent:

Due to a shockingly large deficit, Gov. Rick Scott is planning to invoke his emergency powers and make deep cuts to the rates charged by group homes and case workers who help the developmentally disabled.

Scott could announce a 15 percent rate cut as early as Thursday to close the $170 million budget gap in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, according to lawmakers who were briefed Wednesday.

There's a growing wait list for access to the services since the agency is already struggling with limited funding. The huge cuts imposed by Scott could mean, according to an advocate, that providers may "have to cut jobs and reduce services."

Meanwhile, as this story made the rounds this morning, Scott's staff boasted on Twitter that the governor was participating in a run to benefit the Special Olympics. Hopefully the Floridians that made a great photo op for Scott won't be among those denied services they need thanks to his ruthless cuts.

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