To advocate for legislative support of the FY2018 budget and funding recommendations that recognize the necessity for specialized blindness services and their critical importance and need for funding in these challenging budgetary times.
The Governor's proposed budget for FY2018 has recommended a funding reduction to a key Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) account, along with a small 1% increase for the Perkins and Worcester Library programs. Funding support is also needed for special education for students with disabilities.
Some examples of critical programs to be funded are:
- The Perkins Library and the Worcester Talking Book Library - The 7000-9406 & 7000-9402 line item accounts that provide funding for the continued operations of the Perkins Library and the Worcester Talking Book Library for the delivery of audio, braille and large print accessible library services. The proposed fiscal year 2018 funding level contains a 1% increase and will allow for the continuation of outreach to the 100,000 potentially eligible borrowers in the Commonwealth who are not aware of the program. Ongoing support for accessible library services is essential to meet expanding information and technology access needs.
- MCB's 4110-1000 Community Services account has been proposed for a reduction. This account serves the vast majority of MCB's consumers including seniors. Alarmingly, the funding for this account has decreased in excess of $300K since the 2009 approved budget. Services funded include community Orientation & Mobility provided by the Carroll Center for the Blind, and the Deaf-Blind Community Access Network providing essential independent living services to people who are deafblind.
- The MCB Turning 22 account (4110-2000) covers expenses for more severely disabled youth who are blind or visually impaired transitioning out of the education system into supported living settings. This account was proposed for about a $700,000 increase due to five youth turning 22.
- Support for special education circuit-breaker funding for Chapter 766 private school tuition rates is also needed.
At this important time, the community is working to both provide information and network with legislators on the need for appropriate funding for the blindness community's vital service needs.
Please come to the State House on Thursday, March 16 and add your voice to our advocacy efforts!
- 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM: Light buffet lunch with legislators / Sponsor & access product demonstrations
- 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM: Legislator Award / Consumer Presentations
- 1:15 PM - 2:00 PM and beyond: Networking, walk around the State House to visit representative and senators’ offices
Registration & Follow Up
Your participation is critical! Please fill out the online registration form above.
This will make it possible for event planners to provide you with follow-up email with additional details on this free event including directions to the State House meeting location.
For other questions or to register by phone contact Erin Fragola, B.L.I.N.D. 2017 Registration Coordinator, at 617-972-7247 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any State House accommodations requests, please contact Carl Richardson by March 6, 2017 at 857-400-5502 or via email at email@example.com.
Talking points and legislative contact information will be distributed in a future email communication prior to the event; with hard copy print and braille materials available on March 16.
If you are unable to join us on Thursday, March 16th, you can still help by contacting your elected officials.
- Bay State Council of the Blind
- Carroll Center for the Blind
- Lowell Association for the Blind
- Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
- National Braille Press
- National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts
- Perkins School for the Blind on behalf of the Friends of the Braille & Talking Book Library and the Worcester Talking Book Library
- Talking Information Center
Thank you for being a part of the ninth annual B.L.I.N.D. State House event on March 16.