McGrory: Mitt cares

So, apparently Mitt Romney had been unaware that cutting funds from the program that provides winter shelter to the homeless would result in fewer homeless people getting shelter during the winter. All it took was someone pointing it out, and he quickly rectified the situation. Not his fault -- "some idiotic state bureaucrat couldn't see the people through the numbers," says Brian McGrory.

Well, if it worked for McGrory...

Governor, you may not be aware, but on November 10 you also cut $2,032,330 from line 5920-5000, the Turning 22 Program. This Department of Mental Retardation program provides transitional services for people with severe mental disabilities, when they lose their eligibility to residential services that the state offers through age 21. The program's budget had actually declined since you entered office, to just under $6.5 million, while the the number of applicants rose from 450 a year to 620. For the past couple of years, they have had to ask many of these applicants to fend for themselves until their names reached the top of the waiting list. The legislature increased the budget by $2 million for this fiscal year. You vetoed the increase, but they overrode you by the slim margin of 193 to zero. Now you have unilaterally yanked that $2 million back in your "emergency" budget cuts. Back on the waiting list!

So, now that I've pointed it out, I'm sure the governor will put the money back. Right?

Maybe not. He doesn't sound like he regrets the cuts to the Department of Mental Health budget, which, it turns out, will mean fewer mentally ill people getting treatment. Who knew? Romney's flack Eric Fehrnstrom blames the DMH administrators, saying that any "good manager" should be able to absorb the cuts without affecting services. (And who snuck those bad managers into the administration?)

So, when the severely mentally disabled individuals age out of their state-provided residences, and can't get help from the Turning 22 program, they will also find that state mental hospitals are no longer admitting new patients. I wonder where they'll end up?

Perhaps turned away from a homeless shelter -- but no! Romney is putting back that $400,000 for winter shelter for the homeless, so they'll have a place to stay. Like McGrory says: He made a difference.

[by David S. Bernstein]

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