Safeguarding the Future of Funding for Californians Living With Disabilities

It was my pleasure to address the Senate Human Services Committee yesterday at their field hearing on the future of funding of services for people with developmental disabilities, held yesterday at City Hall, where I was pleased to welcome Chairman Jim Beall and Sen. Carol Liu. 

Blumenfield addresses the Senate Human Services Committee field hearing at Los Angeles City Hall, on October 9, 2014.

In addition to praising the committee for holding this important field hearing, I took the opportunity to raise a pair of challenges we face in the City of Los Angeles as we work to lift Angelenos out of poverty. These challenges, if left unaddressed, have the potential to hurt Californians living with disabilities and numerous vulnerable populations, including seniors and others.

First, because many of the service providers are partially funded by state and federal reimbursements, it is crucial that leaders in the State take into account cost of living and local minimum wage when setting reimbursement rates. As the City of Los Angeles works to increase the minimum wage for workers across Los Angeles, this issue will become even more important to our local agencies. 

Second, the state must clarify that exempt employees who must be paid twice the minimum wage have that wage based on the state, not local minimum wage. 

Today, I introduced a motion that would formally activate our lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to work with our elected representatives to correct and clarify these two important issues.

In the Assembly, I Chaired the Assembly's Budget Committee during years when the state went from being tens of billions of dollars in the red, to a multi-billion dollar surplus. Throughout that time I got to know many families and services providers who rely on state funding and worked tirelessly to protect them from budget cuts. It is important to me to help people with disabilities to live independent, full lives, and to advocate for the state funding of services that make that possible.

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