Yesterday, New Hampshire House Democrats turned their backs on a promise and moral obligation to provide services to developmentally disabled citizens by voting down a floor amendment that would have fully funded and completely eliminated the developmental disabilities waiting list in this biennium.
“Since the Laconia State School closed in 1991, individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have been waiting for the state to make good on its promises to provide them with vital services. It is time we made good on this promise by fully funding the program and eliminating the waiting list,” said Republican Leader Michael Whalley. “It is so disappointing that we have once again let down these citizens because of partisan politics.”
During hearings on this issue, HHS Commissioner John Stephen and the heads of the area agencies responsible for the oversight of the waitlist testified that they are ready and able to fix this problem right now. The Governor’s budget proposal is $7 million short, and the commissioner believes that he can find money, but it requires legislative action, and rather than voting to end the wait list in this budget cycle with a Republican backed piece of legislation, democrats opted for a Democratic sponsored bill that pushes elimination of the waitlist much further into the future.
“Hiding behind the promises of supporting a Democratic sponsored senate bill that would delay the elimination of the wait list is pure partisanship,” added former Health and Human Services Committee Chair, Rep. Peter Batula.
“The developmentally disabled wait list is not a partisan issue, at least, it shouldn’t be, and I’m so sorry that we were not able to pass this important amendment and act for the good of New Hampshire’s neediest citizens,” concluded Whalley.