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On behalf of people with disabilities and those that care for them in Dodge County and the entire state, we are deeply grateful to State Representative Mark Born for taking the initiative to propose an amendment to remove provisions from the state budget proposal that would eliminate and significantly change many programs that have effectively served people with disabilities and the elderly.

The provisions in the state budget would eliminate the IRIS program and significantly change the Family Care program. These two programs successfully serve the long-term care needs of over 600 people in Dodge County and 53,000 people statewide. The state budget proposal also includes provisions that would dramatically change our county-operated Aging and Disability Resources Centers that provide hundreds of thousands of people with information on and referral to available programs and services in their local communities.

These provisions were included in the state budget proposal without the knowledge of or input from the leadership of the Wisconsin Department of Family Services, legislators, the current coordinators of the programs and, most importantly, the people currently served by IRIS, Family Care and the Aging and Disability Resources Centers.

Representative Born agrees with the thousands of people that have requested that these provisions be removed from the state budget process and that all interested parties have the opportunity to research, discuss and provide input related to such significant changes. We thank him for being responsive to the many concerns expressed by his constituents and people around the state.

Donna Auchue, ARC of Dodge County

Jim Hoegemeier, The Arc-Wisconsin Disability Association