Disabled workers targeted in budget cut proposal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Disabled workers targeted in budget cut proposal

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal to fill a $2 billion hole will affect many services in Washington, including some that help the disabled get back to work and keep a job.

NBC Right Now met with Rebecca Byington. Rebecca had a brain tumor that left her blind in her right eye and suffering with partial paralysis. Now, she is one step closer to independence, and her choice to work at Shop CI is at risk.

Rich Foeppel with Columbia Industries says, "These are the folks that have the best opportunity to get some training, some education and some additional help and get a job in the community."

Now, as budgets are looked at, jobs like Rebecca's (sorting and hanging out clothes) could be threatened, affecting employees and the business itself.

"We're going to have to dramatically figure out how to redo services," explained Foeppel. Because The Department of Social and Health Services has recommended getting rid of over $9 million from state-only employment and day services. Columbia Industries gets $600,000 for their 68 employees. With cuts, they would be left with a little over half that amount to serve only 12 people.

Foeppel said, "what we're really trying to do is teach them skills that would allow them to achieve a job in the community and tax payer instead of a tax user."

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