Resolution 2003-02

Concerning funding for the Division of Blind Services

WHEREAS, the Florida Division of Blind Services is the only Florida Public Agency providing services, funded by the state budget, for the Rehabilitation of blind persons, to aid them in finding meaningful work; and

WHEREAS, statistics, which are readily available, show that over seventy per cent of all blind persons and those  at risk of becoming blind, are unemployed or underemployed; and

WHEREAS, the number of cases successfully closed by the Florida Division of Blind services has increased as the amount of assistive technology and assistive technology trainers has increased in the state of Florida; and

WHEREAS, the federal government provides matching funds to the Florida Division of Blind Services, at a rate of $4.00 for every $1.00 provided to the agency by the Florida Legislature; and

WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature initially voted to cut its allocation of funds provided to the Division of Blind Services by one million dollars, which action would have result in a loss of five million dollars in funding available to the Florida Division of Blind Services, to carry out its worthwhile mission to serve the blind; and

WHEREAS, the blind of Florida, through our vehicle for self-expression and concerted action, the National Federation of the Blind, clearly and forcefully articulated the need for quality rehabilitation services and won a reversal of the proposed cuts; Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED...that this organization strongly commend the Florida House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, for its stand in favor of quality services to blind Floridians, and urge that the full House and Senate of our state join in this action in furthering the goal of fully integrating blind Floridians into the mainstream of our society.