Governor announces funds in the state budget to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals
This year’s State Budget will contain the funds requested by the #bfair2DirectCare campaign to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan attended a recent rally to make the announcement.
More than a year ago DSPs, individuals with disabilities, family members, self-advocates, and provider organizations banded together forming the #bFair2DirectCare campaign to educate lawmakers about the vital work of DSPs and advocate for a living wage. That effort culminated in today’s #bFair2DirectCare event at the NYS Capitol. Governor Cuomo announced that funding to raise the wage of direct care workers in the developmental disabilities, mental health, and substance use disorder fields has been agreed to as part of this year’s NYS budget. In a dramatic moment, as the Governor raised his right hand for the hundreds gathered at the Capitol to see, Governor Cuomo stated, “this hand will not sign a budget unless there is $55M in it!”
The $55M the Governor referenced is the state share (to be matched with federal Medicaid dollars, where applicable) of an investment in wages to take effect 1/1/18. As we understand, these resources would be given to people who work in titles in the 100 and 200 CFR series, equaling a 3.25% increase for all staff. A second 3.25% increase will be given to people who work in titles in the 100, 200, and 300 CFR series effective 4/1/18. This represents a two-year 6.5% commitment totaling $262M (state and federal share), and an outstanding step toward the creation of the living wage #bFair2DirectCare supporters have sought to take effect over a period of 6 years.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan also joined the campaign event today to reaffirm their commitment to ensure that the necessary funds are in the final State Budget to support the wage increases.
We thank Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Flanagan, and the members of the State Legislature for their support.
Equally as important, we are grateful to the thousands of real, true advocates who participated in the #bFair2DirectCare campaign --- your letters, phone calls, participation at rallies, press conferences and events made this campaign so successful. A particular shout out to our DSPs! You deserve this!