July 20, 2020
NYS Council members,
Over the past several weeks we have been reporting to you on recent Division of Budget (DOB) ‘withholds’ to LGU’s that have translated into reduced funding for critical programs and services. This includes ‘withholds’ of funding to providers for mental health services and supportive housing at around 20% while substance use disorder (SUD) / addiction organizations could see withholds at significantly higher percentages. These budget actions can not stand!
The NYS Council has been aggressively advocating against state aid ‘withholds’. We have also been working with a Coalition of Associations to get our message out statewide in the media and we have sent joint letters to all legislators (see the July 6 letter here), and to the Governor.
But our efforts here in Albany are not enough.
We need your help this week! We are asking for every NYS Council member to reach out to their local legislators to express their deep concerns for these budget actions and to press lawmakers to identify alternative proposals to raise revenue instead of relying on seriously vulnerable behavioral health provider organizations in their local communities. We have put together a toolkit of resources to help you. We ask that you send your legislators a letter, call them, and also use social media to help amplify our message.
Attached are three documents to assist you in helping us get the message out:
- A template letter for you to tailor and send to your local legislators,
- A sample script to use when calling your legislators, and
- Sample social media messaging around the withholds.
Members of the NYS Legislature are back in session starting today, July 20, for three days. They will take up many bills and our issue MUST become a top priority for them. This can only happen if we contact them and press them into action on our behalf.
Please take the time to contact your NYS Senate and Assembly members in their Albany offices as well as in district. Implore them to do everything in their power to forestall these budget actions, including raising new revenue to stop current and future cuts, and protect access to these critical services.