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June 25, 2003

State budget cuts could have impact on the deaf community

From:KYTV, MO - Jun 25, 2003

By:Cara Restelli, KY3 News

More state agencies are feeling the pinch of a tight state budget. Proposed cuts could even force one to close for good, the Missouri Commission for the Deaf stands to lose half of its operating budget.

If approved, House Bill 102 would cut 44% of the commission's budget. The cuts would have devastating effects on the agency which regulates interpreters, holds workshops and provides a voice and increased accessibility for the entire deaf community.

This wouldn't be the first time the commission has dealt with budget shortfalls. In fiscal year 2002, the commission was given almost $121,000 dollars to operate. In 2003, this was reduced by 23% to under $93,000, this time they could be left with under $52,000 to pay its bills in 2004. In response to budget shortfalls, one employee has been laid off and if more cuts are approved, the entire commission could soon be forced to close its doors.

There will be a public hearing on the proposed bill Wednesday at noon in Jefferson City. House floor debate will take place later Wednesday. The Senate will debate the issue later in the week, so status of the bill should be known by Friday.

© 2003 KYTV