Ventura County Rally Protests Proposed Budget Reductions for Care of Developmentally Disabled
About 300 state residents yesterday rallied against budget reductions proposed by Gov. Gray Davis (D) that they said would deny services to about 5,500 individuals with developmental disabilities, the Los Angeles Times reports. Participants in the rally, held outside the Ventura County Government Center, protested the $60 million in proposed reductions for the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Rehabilitation (Butler, Los Angeles Times, 4/18). Rally participants also called on state lawmakers to pass a bill (AB 896) sponsored by Assembly member Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley) that would consolidate community services and large public institutions and establish a new State Hospital Interagency Fund Transfer budget, which would "use the same amount of money for a person in an institution or in the community." About 3,800 state residents with disabilities reside in state institutions, which currently cost the state about $163,000 per resident per year, while about 170,000 receive community services, which cost the state $12,000 per individual per year, the Ventura County Star reports (Mitchell, Ventura County Star, 4/18). Dwight Hansen, vice president of governmental affairs for the California Rehabilitation Association, which supports the legislation, said, "The state spends 25% of the budget on 2% of the disabled population" (Los Angeles Times, 4/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.