Lalor Calls for More Funding for Direct Care Workers

East Fishkill, NY - Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, along with Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and Senator Sue Serino, will hold a 10am press conference on Monday, March 6 in support of higher pay for direct care workers through the inclusion of $45 million in the 2017-2018 state budget. The press conference will take place in front of the County Office building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. Representatives from local direct care agencies, including Abilities First, Anderson Center for Autism, ARC of Dutchess, Cardinal Hayes Home for Children, Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County, Gateway Industries, Greystone and New Horizons Resources Inc., among others, will be in attendance.

Direct care workers receive between the minimum wage of $9.70 to $13.00 hourly for their services, which protect and enhance the lives of New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. Direct care workers provide daily services for the disabled that encompass a wide range of needs. The agencies that employ these workers currently face a job vacancy of 10% and a 23% turnover rate in yearly employment, due to the current pay rate.

Lalor said, “This additional funding will help agencies that provide services for our developmentally disabled population to recruit, train and retain dedicated direct care workers. This will, in turn, provide continuity to the lives of developmentally disabled New Yorkers. This would help those workers who do continuous work with the developmentally disabled and who are often on public assistance themselves.”

When asked where the $45 million could come from, Lalor said, “One option is to reduce the Film Tax Credit, which is currently $420 million per year, by a mere eleven percent. Hollywood moguls will understand that their taxpayer-funded subsidy to make movies and television shows had to be reduced so we can do what is right for our direct care workers and the developmentally disabled New Yorkers they care for.”

Lalor noted, “I almost never call for any kind of spending. However, I believe the state has no higher calling than to provide for and protect the truly vulnerable people of New York State. This $45 million support for direct care workers will do precisely that.”