We realize that we are deluging our list serve with e-mail today and calls
to action, but it is all heightened this time of year because of the
expected budget passage on April 1. One of the issues most talked about has
been minimum wage. Our colleagues at ACL have sent out an alert in which we
are in total support.

I hope you can take a minute to fill out and send to key legislators.

Hello Everyone-

We need your help on an* urgent* issue. As the conversation about minimum
wage has evolved, the nonprofit sector has done a great job explaining that
state contracts MUST be increased if the state minimum wage is increased.
Our elected officials are responding to this with the idea that they might
carve state contracts out of the state minimum wage increase, along with
small businesses and farmers. That will surely relegate us to a position
of being sub-par employers and we will no longer have any way to recruit
and retain staff. *This is an idea that must be stopped*. Please take
part in a virtual lobby day by CLICKING HERE
and sending the pre-populated message
that we have provided (see message below). The title of this action is
“Call to Action on 2016-17 Budget,” and is listed under the *​key issues*​
section of our Legislative Action Center. This is simple to do – once you
enter your name and address, the pre-populated message will be viewable and
can be automatically sent to your legislator and the leadership that we
have chosen. You are able to edit the message at that point if you wish
to, but only 1800 characters are allowed.

Thank you for participating! -Toni

ACL’s pre-populated message language:

The fate of the Community Mental Health system is at risk! We have heard
that a carve out of the minimum wage increase for state contracts is being
considered. If this happens we will be relegated to a position of being
sub-par employers with no ability to recruit and retain staff for these
very difficult jobs. Our workforce will deteriorate beyond repair, and we
will lose VITAL employees to higher paying, less challenging positions in
other industries. A minimum wage increase MUST INCLUDE nonprofits who rely
primarily on state contracts for funding.

Increases to the minimum wage MUST include state contracts but MUST also
include necessary increases so we can continue to attract and retain a
quality workforce. Human Service agencies are barely surviving
unsustainably low funding levels, and now we face a potential workforce
loss that is sure to collapse the entire industry.

OMH sponsored housing programs serve people with the most serious
psychiatric disabilities but have had limited increases over time. They
have never had a trend, were never re-based, have no rate appeal process
and are NOT cost-based. THESE PROGRAMS HAVE PROVEN TO REDUCE EMERGENCY
ROOM, PRISON, JAIL, NURSING HOME AND HOSPITAL USE. Programs have suffered
cuts of MORE THAN 43% since 1990, while expected to serve much more
challenging populations, manage the health and mental health for people
with co-occurring conditions, and manage complicated medication regimens.

WE URGE THE LEGISLATURE TO REJECT A MINIMUM WAGE CARVE OUT FOR STATE
CONTRACTS AND RECONSIDER A GREATER INVESTMENT INTO THE COMMUNITY MENTAL
HEALTH SYSTEM, PARTICULARLY HOUSING .

Contact ACL’s Executive Director, Toni Lasicki, for supporting
documentation at toni@aclnys.org and 518-688-1682 ext. 225.

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