[nfbwatlk] DSB Budget

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Sat Sep 4 14:55:43 UTC 2010

Fellow Washingtonians:

The budget crunch is coming. It looks like revenue may not be as great as some would like and Governor Gregoire has asked state agencies to project budget cuts up to ten percent. And she has stipulated that taking a little here and a little there from each agency program won't cut it; agencies must specify programs that would be eliminated.

DSB must therefore submit such budget and program cut proposals. I have LouOma's proposals for program cuts but do not feel at liberty to distribute these on the list but will be happy to send them to those who need them. I'll be out of town for two weeks starting Tuesday so you may also ask any member of the NFBW Board of Directors to send you the proposals.

In essence, most programs either do not have many state dollars (something like $240,000 must be cut) or if state dollars were cut, would result in an inordinate loss of funds so although DSB's basic VR program is in the mix, it's dead last on the priority list. Also, NFB Newsline® is not in danger as it receives money from the 
Business Enterprises Program. In fact, the whole BEP program is not in danger; few state dollars go into it as it accrues most of its revenue from vending machine income.

LouOma has *no* good options. Even eliminating the OTC or other such drastic steps wouldn't result in enough savings.

The primary proposal is to cut a contract subsidizing the Deaf-blind Service Center in Seattle. That's an awful choice considering that the DB population has little political voice. But when we look at DSB's overall mission, it makes sense and would cut enough to fulfill Governor Gregoire's requirements.

Next-best would be to cut drastically independent living funds for those under 55 including what's left of the child and family program. Older persons would be affected also. I feel that while (given the School for the Blind) DSB could probably do away with any effort for families with blind children, it would not save much money in that the program is, as I say, very minimal now.

All in all, it is my personal opinion that while it is extremely regrettable and unfair and any other adjectives one wants to use, LouOma has probably made the correct Draconian choice and that the Seattle Lighthouse and perhaps fund-raising might be able to take up some of the slack resulting from DSB's contract cancellation.

LouOma would welcome other proposals but we must remember that they need to cut at least $240,000 in state-only dollars and not result in an emasculation of the Federally-funded parts of DSB's efforts.

Mike Freeman, President
NFB of Washington

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