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BUDGET: Cuts already have been devastating

Letter by Rev. David Strong, Tacoma on Dec. 1, 2011 at 10:23 am with 14 Comments »
December 1, 2011 1:31 pm

As the executive director of AIDS Housing Association of Tacoma (AHAT), I see daily how the cuts already implemented within our state have left social services bleeding and weakened. Further cuts will diminish our state’s ability to help its most vulnerable citizens as they fall through the holes of our shrinking safety net.

We are facing increased challenges in serving our clients due to decreases in adult dental care, Medicaid and Disability Lifeline. For AHAT’S clients, many of whom are disabled and unable to work, these cuts have been devastating.

At a recent town hall meeting with Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Susan Dreyfus, I learned that the proposed cuts would include a near elimination of adult drug treatment and a significant decrease in adult prescription drug coverage. For AHAT clients, this would mean that AIDS drugs would be covered, but medications for other health conditions would be eliminated.

That is a risky proposition for AHAT’S clients. Treating one illness while ignoring other underlying health conditions may lead to more costly health care consumption, including hospitalization. We need this crucial lifeline that provides access to all medications that our clients need to stabilize their health.

If we continue to slash and burn the social safety net, our state will pay in increased hunger and homelessness and a decrease in community health.

No more cuts. It’s time to raise revenue. As a citizenry, we must decide what kind of state we want to be. We must recommit to end HIV/AIDS.

 

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. Misunderestimated says:

    So what would you cut, reverend, to give additional monies to your HIV Aids clients?????
    Please don’t prattle on about your self interest without enlightening us in those you see as less needy and worthy of having their funds reduced that yours might be increased.
    Forget about tax hikes; the 53% of us paying taxes feel our burden is still much too heavy, and would like the other 47% to get out of the wagon and push instead of riding for free and complaining that we are just not moving fast enough for them…

  2. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Will someone out there tell the Rev. that “THERE HAVE BEEN NO CUTS”!!!!

    You and Al Gore and the Gov. all use fuzzy math. Don’t fall for democrat lies. Even the AP had no problem telling the Gov. she was wrong about the cuts in previous years. Hope the Rev. will read this.

    Not spending more money IS NOT A CUT! Not spending money we don’t have IS NOT A CUT!!!

    Want proof?? read this
    http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/nov/27/Budget-fact-check-washington-gregoire/

  3. Bobarino says:

    With rare exception such as HIV+ mother passing the virus on to a baby, or the even more rare case of an infected blood transfusion, AIDS is a preventable disease. I have no sympathy for heroine addicts that shared dirty needles or someone that had unprotected sex with a bunch of people.

    Would the DSHS secretary have us pay for every smoker’s lung cancer treatment or every alcoholic’s liver transplant too?

    It Is NOT role of government to be the care takers of those who refuse to take care of themselves.

  4. aislander says:

    Simple question (repeated, but never answered): is the new budget smaller than the previous budget? If it isn’t (and it isn’t), there have been no cuts!

  5. aislander says:

    If YOUR particular budget has been cut, but the new state budget is bigger than the old budget, the legislature and governor have other priorities. Perhaps we want the kind of state that encourages economic growth so we taxpayers will have more money that we can voluntarily give to charities such as yours…

  6. alindasue says:

    taxedenoughintacoma said, “…“THERE HAVE BEEN NO CUTS”!!!!
    You and Al Gore and the Gov. all use fuzzy math.”

    and aislander said, “…is the new budget smaller than the previous budget? If it isn’t (and it isn’t), there have been no cuts!”

    First off, aislander, a budget is not actual money spent; it is a plan of anticipated spending. Since actual revenue is less than anticipated, the budget has been cut and is in the process of being cut yet again.

    I don’t know what “fuzzy” math you people are using, but when state workers are being paid less because their hours have been reduced ( or eliminated), schools are trying to get by with fewer state funds, and people are going without dental care or some medications because medical coupons no longer pay for them, that is not a case of “not spending more money”. Those are genuine cuts. You can twist the math all you want, but that won’t lessen the impact of the cuts now felt by those who can afford it least.

    If, in fact, more money is actually being spent (and not just “budgeted”), I’d like to know what the additional money is being spent on because schools, public services (like transportation), and social services have all felt the heavy ax the last couple years and are continuing to feel it still. I’m sure we and they would love it if we just had to deal with “not spending more.”

  7. qq98411 says:

    alindasue – I think taxenough is dead on and aislanders question is pure genius in its observation and simplicity.

    There is no fuzzy anything. If the current planned expenditures are more that the previously planned expenditures (or “previous” actual expenditures if you wanna go there) then how in the fiscal math world can anyone claim there is a “cut”? The current number is more, is greater than, is higher than the previous numbers…

    “…I’d like to know what the additional money is being spent on…”

    Ask Christine, she should know. Maybe her priorities are not your priorities.

  8. harleyrider1 says:

    Thank you taxenoughintacoma. You raise valid points often over-looked for political drama.

    We do need to remain vigilant that politicians do not re-direct money away from our disabled as a ploy for more dollars from us.

    Let’s start with a genuine budget based on money we have now. We don’t need to spend, spend, spend and hope, hope, hope money continues to pour in.

    It doesn’t work in your house and there’s no reason it will work in your government.

  9. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Qq/xx- I have an even more basic question. How does the good Rev. figure spending more on AIDS positive people will help end the disease?

    He sells our tax dollars as an ‘end’, yet speaks of treatment, not prevention.

    The term “raise revenue” shows the good Rev reads some Krugman. Rev, who has done more for AIDS prevention and treatment, W. or BHO? What has the left done to raise the members of your parish out of poverty in the last 10-20 years?

    You should be above these political matters.

  10. tree_guy says:

    “Since actual revenue is less than anticipated, the budget has been cut and is in the process of being cut yet again.” alinda

    Yes, the legislature (which is primarily made up of democrats) has over anticipated revenues. It’s sort of like Christmas morning where a child who anticipated a new bicycle gets some new socks instead. Intelligent people would exercise extreme caution not to over anticipate in the midst of a recession, however our legislature doesn’t fit this description.

  11. qq98411 says:

    concerned – you may enjoy olde Bono of U2 fame actually speaking well of President Bush when he spoke glowingly of the work he did.

    Bono said on the John Stewart show…

    “But George kind of knocked it out of the park. I can tell you, and I’m actually here to tell you, that America now has 5 million people being kept alive by these drugs. That’s something everybody should know.”

    “It’s time to raise revenue” The good Reverd said.

    Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is up the road aways, the taxpayer is tapped out and the boys and girls in Olympia are not the best fiscal stewards with our hard earned cash.

  12. alindasue says:

    tree_guy said, “Yes, the legislature (which is primarily made up of democrats) has over anticipated revenues. It’s sort of like Christmas morning where a child who anticipated a new bicycle gets some new socks instead.”

    For decades, medical coupons have covered dental care and medications for children and disabled adults. Now it doesn’t. That’s a cut.

    People who need care to stay independent in their homes have been receiving that care since years before the last boom/bust economic cycle started. Now in the last couple years the hours they can receive care have been severely cut and in many cases eliminated. That’s a cut.

    Those are just a couple examples out of many programs that have felt the knife this last couple years. You guys are speaking of expecting a bicycle and getting socks, when the reality of this economy is that many of our most vulnerable have been told (figuratively) that any old rusty bicycles they may have been borrowing from the state now have to run without chains.

    harleyrider1 said, “Let’s start with a genuine budget based on money we have now. We don’t need to spend, spend, spend and hope, hope, hope money continues to pour in.

    It doesn’t work in your house and there’s no reason it will work in your government.”

    In my house, when we have less than anticipated income (as has happened before), we make sure that basic needs of the family like food and shelter (basic social programs) are taken care of first, then needed school supplies (education), then only after that comes home repairs (roads and bridge maintenance) and luxuries like home improvements (remodeled stadiums or fancy tunnel under the waterfront in Seattle).

    Of course, we also make it a point to avoid debt as much as possible and, when needed, try to increase our funds if what we have is not enough (like my husband’s second job or the Governor’s suggested sales tax increase).

    What we don’t do in our house is tell the kids “sorry no money for food” at the same time we’re trying to convince them that it’s normal to not have enough food so “no cuts have been made”.

  13. aislander says:

    Sorry, alindasue, the government is not my parent and those dependent on government are not my kids.

    We have to get government OUT of the charity business. Having governments acting as charitable organizations is THE source of the world’s economic problems (and don’t tell me it’s military expenditures: Europe spends a pittance on defense and it’s farther down the road than we are)…

  14. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Great point. Bring the responsibility back to the individual, the family, then the community (church, charity). Previous generations socialized charities, add another burden to an inefficient govt.

    I recently read an article (cannot find it now) that discussed just this very issue. Charities abounded and people were taken care of.

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