Perhaps there is one good thing about the recent budget crisis/debacle in California, in which a hole of something like $18-billion had to be plugged, and legislators bickered for weeks over how to do this while the state teetered on the edge of insolvency. Perhaps more people got an idea of what I go through almost every year.
California, one of only three states that requires lawmakers to approve a new budget (or any new tax) by a two-thirds super-majority vote, is notorious for not passing its budget on time, almost always due to Republicans standing in the way. So notorious that it isn’t news - at least news that people pay attention to. The only reason it was big news this time was that the budget that was passed in September after the July 1 deadline proved to be a bust.
Well, even when the budget not passing isn’t news, I read the stories. Because, always, always, always, one of the first things to be put on the chopping block or on hold are services for "the blind, aged and disabled."
That’s me. Yep - I’m in there!
Never mind what it says about a society that considers cutting such services. What am I to think when I read day after day that my independent, productive living is threatened? What do I do if I can’t pay my attendants who get me out of bed, help me go to the bathroom, dress me, feed me...?
Yes, it is true that years ago a judge ruled that attendant funds must be provided, budget or no budget, but I forget this or worry that it will change. I remember when, before the ruling, the money didn’t come until the state budget was passed, and I remember one year when I had to tell my attendants, who I rely on, that their pay was cut by ten percent. (None quit, but I sure worried that they would, and I felt bad asking for what I still needed.)
This is a horrible position to be in. Come to think of it, it is not unlike the position thousands of same-sex married couples are in, waiting for the California Supreme Court to decide if their marriages are valid. And the many more lesbians and gay men - that’s me, again! - also waiting to see if their lives are deemed valid, waiting for the outcome of the recent hearing on whether Proposition 8, which wrote discrimination into the state constitution for the first time in a amendment banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.