During a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, Sen. Charles Schwertner, loomed over a witness testifying on behalf of SSLCs and said,
“Do you know how much your son costs the State of Texas?” Whoa, now that’s cold.
But it may underscore what’s really at play. So much of the focus has been on the SSLC closure bill SB 602 and rightfully so, but it looks like the Appropriations conference committee is where the real damage could be done.
Early on, Governor Abbott requested that state agencies make across the board budget cuts. Dutifully, HHSC and DADS in particular, complied.
DADS could make do under the original proposed cuts but it’s the 2019 proposed cuts in Senate Bill 1 that should cause deep concerns among our friends and families.
The 2018 cuts in the House and Senate bills on appropriations are deep but survivable. The Senate version is a little better than the House version for 2018.
It’s the 2019 budget that’s problematic. The rug gets pulled out on SSLCs in the House and Senate version with a $40 million plus cut. The amounts in the House and Senate version are identical for 2019.
That means for 2019, the state would be forced to deny any new SSLC applications because the cuts would need to come from personnel. That action wouldn’t be a moratorium on new resident applications, but it might as well be.
And what that does is lead us to into the specious argument that Dennis Borel and his kind continually make about the declining SSLC population. You know the argument —
that people do not want their loved ones in an SSLC and point to declining SSLC populations. What Borel doesn’t want you to know is that the population decline is tied to the resources tied to mandatory SSLC staffing requirements.
The declining population is manufactured through resources attrition.
What it looks like to us is an effort on the part of some lawmakers to squeeze the SSLCs through the appropriations process. Plus, the budget as it stands today gives the agency and SSLCs a year to adjust (for 2018) but then the bottom falls out in 2019.
There could be an emergency appropriation at some point (early 2019), but we can’t count on that.
What can we do now? It’s not too late.
Please contact the Appropriations Conference committee members and let them know this :
Please restore the 2019 level to match the 2018 level for SSLCs in Senate Bill 1.
On a hopeful note – We so appreciate the efforts of Sen. Lois Kolkhorst for her exemplary work regarding the SSLC system. It’s been a real honor and pleasure working with her and her staff. Sen. Kolkhorst is working hard on behalf of our families and loved ones – and she is on the Appropriations Conference committee!
Plus we need to give a special shout out to Sen. Jane Nelson, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee for sticking with us on the SB 602 vote. Thank you so very much! We really appreciate you. Please help us in conference committee for the funding levels.
Please contact the Conference Committee and let them know how you feel.
Sen Nelson- 512-463-0112
Sen. Hinojosa- 512-463-0120
Sen. Huffman- 512-463-0117
Sen. Kolkhorst- 512-463-0118
Rep. Zerwas- 512-463-0657
Rep. Ashby- 512-463-0508
Rep. Davis- 512-463-0389
Rep. L. Gonzales-512-463-0670
Rep. Longoria- 512-463-0645
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