Friday, January 22, 2010

Idaho governor plans to cut agencies that help disabled and deaf among others

Idaho governor plans to cut agencies that help disabled and deaf among others

Things are tough all over, but in Idaho, things seems to be a bit tougher ... at least if you work for one of five state funded agencies that are on a not-to-popular list.

Gov. Butch Otter is proposing cutting back funding to those groups help balance the Gem state's budget. The five are the Human Rights Commission, the Hispanic Commission, the Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Independent Living Council and the Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The plan is obviously controversial. And it was especially frustrating to some who see those agencies as some of the most important in the state, as detailed in a story in the Idaho Statesman by Anna Webb and Cynthia Sewell:


"I can't decide whether I'm furious or heartbroken," Herzfeld (Amy Herzfeld, executive director of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center) said. "These agencies are our watchdogs."

Herzfeld, as well as lawmakers including Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, have said the savings from the governor's proposed cuts - which would eventually amount to $1 million a year, or about 0.04 percent of the state's annual budget - are not significant enough to justify the losses for vulnerable people.

The governor's proposals are ideological, they say, and a passive way to eliminate agencies.