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Protesters Rally In Downtown San Diego For Disability Funding Increase

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

People rally and hold up signs outside of Assembly Speaker Toni Atkin's office in downtown San Diego to call for a funding increase for agencies that provide services to those with developmental disabilities, Dec. 10, 2015.

More than 100 people with developmental disabilities, along with their caregivers and advocates, urged Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and other state leaders to increase funding by 10 percent to the agencies that support them.

More than 100 people with developmental disabilities, along with their caregivers and advocates, rallied Thursday outside of Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins' downtown office.

People with cerebral palsy, autism and other disabilities carried signs and cheered loudly, urging Atkins and other state leaders to increase funding by 10 percent to the agencies that support them.

Among the messages on the signs: “We matter too," "Stand with us" and “Do the right thing.”

“We’re at a brink of collapse essentially. And that’s not just our organization, but it’s all organizations like ours throughout the state of California,” said Matthew Mouer, a director for the Arc of San Diego. The non-profit provides living assistance to 2,500 people with cerebral palsy, autism and other disabilities.

Mouer said the Arc has not had a rate increase for more than a decade, and they were hit with a ten percent cut during the recession.

“We’ve been stuck at rates that are so old, and based on expenses that are so old, that we just cannot operate any more,” Mouer said. “So really, this is to keep the doors open.”

Atkins is in Paris at the climate conference, but her office provided this statement:

“The Speaker stated just last month that with the strong revenue forecast from the Legislative Analyst’s Office she supports providing meaningful new investments in developmental disability services. That has not changed.”

An early fiscal-year 2016 budget draft included a funding increase, but it did not make it into the final budget. The issue is expected to be debated at a special legislative session in January.

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