By “level funding” line item 0321-1510 at $96,000,000 [same as FY 2017], where FY 2017 was “short” over $50 million, with a case load growth of about 38%, the FY 2018 is deliberately and severely underfunded. Payless months and delayed payments to attorneys who are “1099 independent contractors” are guarenteed to be WORSE in 2018. In effect, solo private attorneys are forced to give interest-free loans to the Commonwealth. The “Democratic” legislature lies and says it has balanced the budget while bleeding private attorneys. The Commonwealth does not pay interest when it makes 1099 contractor attorneys wait months for payment. We do pay interest on lines of credit, loans, credit cards – and incur penalties from raiding IRAs and 401ks. Don’t believe the myth that all attorneys are wealthy and our private clients keep us rolling in dough. First, the fast paced high volume nature of child welfare appointments and practice makes it virtually impossible to meet the needs of private clients in the same practice. Second, shouldn’t those who work so hard to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in society be rewarded by “Democrats”? I grew up believing that the Democratic party took social justice seriously. Not the legislative, party Democrat culture in Massachusetts. I feel like those folks sneer at the poor and look down on the indigent defense bar. I admit today I am feeling “stiffed”, underfunded, and ill treated. But then, it looks like the work I did in June and timely billed and invoiced the state for doing in June, will not be paid until maybe October, possibly November. So, yes, without raiding my 401k I am not financially okay or able to pay bills on time. Fun times, to be sure. But as a 69 year old pancreatic cancer widow, I will also admit that this intense, sometimes life-or-death work is meaningful and helps me get up in the morning and so despite having the Commonwealth balancing its budget on my small old back – I am not climbing out of the trenches. And I am not about to shut up either!!!