United 874K Coalition Rallies For Less Cuts To Services
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 15, 2004
FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY--About 500 members of the United 874K Coalition -- named for the 874,000 Kentuckians with disabilities -- filled the Capitol rotunda Wednesday to protest cuts to services.
Chanting "Put people first", the group demanded a roll-back of $250 million in cuts to Medicaid and a 2.5 percent reduction in services for people with mental illnesses and mental retardation this fiscal year.
Governor Ernie Fletcher, who ordered the cuts, told the crowd that he probably wouldn't be able to give them everything they want.
"We are going to have to make some tough choices this budget year," he said.
He said he hopes to avoid later cuts through better management of state services.
"I think we can do that and still provide the services," Fletcher told the group, many of whom used wheelchairs or walkers.
Sheila Schuster, executive director of the Kentucky Mental Health Coalition, urged Fletcher to avoid further cuts.
"Every individual with a disability wants an opportunity to live in the community and contribute to the economy of the community," Schuster told the governor.
According to the Courier-Journal, about 30 legislators were also on hand for the rally.
"Rally backs social services" (Courier-Journal)