As You See It

It does matter

“It’s not going to matter.” Those are the words of one of the men from Madison who was checking people in at the first State Budget Regional Public Hearing Session at Brillion, WI on March 18th.

I had just listened to heart wrenching testimony from some of the most vulnerable of our population. Some of the testi- monies brought me to tears. At 4:00 p.m., with one hour to go there were people lined from the front of the auditorium to the back in two aisles waiting to be heard. What could he possibly mean…”It’s not going to matter.” I replied that we were hoping that those legislators listening to testimony would understand how detrimental the proposed changes will be and it will make a difference. He replied, “That’s what all the people here are thinking…but it’s not going to matter. The budget will pass as is.”

The proposed Wisconsin State Budget does not appear to be about budget. It is sweeping policy change that did not go through any policy committees. Nor did it get any input from local counties or those who would be affected by the change. Even people in high ranking positions in the State are claiming they were taken by surprise.

The program that I am most familiar with is the Aging & Disability Resource Centers, (ADRCs). ADRCs are operated under a state and federal grant and not county tax levy. Recent surveys have proven that ADRCs are saving tax-payer money. AND they have high quality assurance ratings. In the proposed budget, the same money for operating the ADRCs could go to private entities such as “for-profit” insurance companies instead of local counties. Services might be provided regionally instead of in our own community. The current oversight from our local governing board would be gone. There is no cost savings over and above what is currently funding the ADRCs. In fact, current protections against rate increases other entities could charge are absent in the proposed budget.

Why is this happening? What about the 1,000-1,200 individuals who are provided unbiased, accessible local services on a monthly basis by your ADRC? Is it possible that what your ADRC has been doing is “not going to matter?” Is it possible that the letters, and phone calls and testimony are “not going to matter?” Our Legislators are being placed in a very difficult position. There is so much pressure to pass this budget. We need to remind them that they work for all of us. Please let them know that “IT DOES MATTER.”

Kathleen Manny

Concerned Citizen

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