By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Budget cuts for the blind

Best wishes to Diane Patrick. Depression is a serious illness, and the fact that Gov. Patrick felt the need to make such a public announcement suggests that he and his family have been struggling with this for some time.

But while the governor helps his wife recover, let’s not ignore the public’s business. Today, Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis reports that Patrick’s proposed budget would cut $118,000 for Braille and audio books for the blind.

If Patrick promised to do that last fall, I missed it.

Update: Here is Jessica Fargen’s news story on the cuts.

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Two for the Globe




  1. mike_b1

    Perhaps had Gov. Patrick convinced Halliburton to move here instead of Dubai, the Commonwealth would be able to afford that $118,000.Then again, I suppose they had to go abroad, lest paying any more U.S. taxes affect President Cheney’s retirement plans.

  2. Anonymous

    the herald’s jessica fargen reported it; peter’s great moving column goes with the news report. altogether a nice hit for the herald.

  3. Anonymous

    I hope these funds are restored to the budget, and I’m disappointed this happened.However . . .I don’t think anyone associated with The Herald has any business complaining about *budget cuts* of any kind. Ever. And you, Dan. Aren’t you the one who’s been complaining about Patrick’s tax increases? Where does the money for programs like these come from?

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 12:17: The Herald’s business is to report the news. I think you’re confusing the news pages with the editorial page and opinion columnists. (Yes, Gelzinis is a columnist, but he’s hardly an anti-tax crusader.)As for Patrick’s priorities, it was he who told us we could have it all — 1,000 new police officers, property-tax cuts and the like, all without any “plans” for new taxes. As Joan Vennochi has pointed out, we have known since September that the budget was out of whack. But that didn’t stop Patrick from promising the world.

  5. Anonymous

    From what I understand from my hearing-ipaired friends…braille is very passe’.Very few braille books are being created….and there are fewer and fewer braille “libraries”.If the “need” is declining…shouldn’t there be a corresponding decline in the budget for such?(I know the knee-jerk Democratic thing to do would be to re-dedicate the money to something else, butif we adopt the good business practice of “zero based budgeting”…..shouldn’t it work this way?

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 11:15: Then there should have been a corresponding increase in audio services for the blind, right? But there wasn’t. In fact, those were cut, too.

  7. mike_b1

    Dan, do we know whether the budget cut is warranted? In other words, perhaps the Finance guys found $118,000 worth of excess spending. Or perhaps they haven’t been using the entire budget in previous years and therefore made the assumption that they had been overbudgeting.Or maybe there’s just fewer blind people in the state than there once were.

  8. Anonymous

    >>Then there should have been a corresponding increase in audio services for the blind, right? <<Not necessarily. The question you forget to ask now is: “Are audio services needed?”. Just because braille is being used less and less….doesn’t AUTOMATICALLY mean that there is an *equal* need somewhere else.Braille was an expenive endeavor…purchasing and maintaining braille, etc. Someone decided that the government should help in this area. Audio services however are abundant and cheap. You’d be harder pressed to make the case that the government should (or needs to) provide audio services….at the same dollar level.AS far as it being a “corresponding” increase in audio services…you don’t seem to take into account the dollar differences between braille and audio.Audio books are available at almost every library in the state already.Braille libraries are harder to find…and are getting less and less visits.Lastly, as Mike_b1 said, there is much less incidence of blindness in the state. The leading cause was always diabetes…and with current state of care, they appear to be eliminating a good many of those cases…that were once assured.What really interests me though Dan, is that Liberals, and you here, seem to always want the government to hang onto money.Most business’s use zero based budgeting. Government doesn’t. They assume a level of funding…and count on it (and an increase) every year thereafter.Instead….asking what programs could be/should be sunset-ed(?) every year (as many no doubt should, as the initial reason for an expenditure quite often goes away.)Also, start at zero each year and decide….do we need/want government to fund this.i.e…Homeless funding is at $X.00. If the number of homeless people decline, does anyone ever look to eliminate/adjust that amount?For some reason, it’s now considered a birthright.

  9. Anonymous

    Wasn’t it Tom Reilly who called Patrick “for-it-all Deval?” Hmmm. Where was the press then?

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