While the discussion at the Legislature is all about the budget, at The Arc Baton Rouge, it's about people. People who were born with or who acquired a developmental disability.

They rely on public funds to help them achieve the things we all need a home, a place to work and to be a part of their family and community.

We help families with a newborn with Down syndrome see that there's a brighter future than they can imagine.

We bring together children and adults with and without disabilities to try to break down social barriers.

We help people some would consider unemployable learn a job skill and coach them as they successfully enter the workforce.

For aging parents facing an illness or hospital stay, we offer the security of knowing The Arc will be there to care for their loved one.

The cuts to these critical services to individuals and their families in the current budget would be disastrous.

I'd like to state it differently, but after years of successive budget cuts, The Arc Baton Rouge and other nonprofits have reached the tipping point. We've absorbed every cut in state funding and not reduced services to the individuals and families that we serve. It's unrealistic to think this can continue.

People with great need will not be served. I wish you could know the people we serve. They are families who care for loved ones with serious disabilities. Our services allow them to go to work every day knowing there's a safe haven for their child or aging adult with a developmental disability.

At the very least, the cuts to our most vulnerable people need to be restored. They are depending on all of us.

BARRY MEYER, executive director

The Arc

Baton Rouge