Friday, January 7, 2011
Budget Shortfall Gives Hope to Texas Disability Rights Advocates
Disability rights advocates try year after year to persuade lawmakers to close Texas’ state-supported living centers, the large, institutional-care settings that the United States Justice Department has monitored for dangerous conditions. Every time, their efforts have been rebuffed — by the adamant parents who rely on the facilities to care for their loved ones and by the lawmakers who count on the centers as economic drivers in their districts.
This session, advocates say they have a big plus in their column: the state’s giant budget crunch. They hope lawmakers, facing an estimated $15 billion to $28 billion shortfall, will have to shutter some of the centers, which cost Texas $500 million a year to operate.