...from my somewhat inadequate post yesterday regarding how distracted I am by the current affairs swirling around us. I determined to do some planning last night and create a more insightful post today. I had a couple of ideas that I wanted to pursue but then I got an email from my blend (blog+friend) Sally in Colorado.
Sally read my post last week regarding special needs families, funding for disability services and politicians citing special needs families as their cause. I used Sarah Palin as the example for that last point, as I felt that even though she has a special needs child, due to his youth, she lacked some background and experiences that would give her the full view of disability services as they apply to the average person. That and she's the only candidate I'm aware of that has made such a statement about being supportive of special needs families.
So last night Sally sent me an email about Sarah's speech in Colorado yesterday. Sarah spoke out against Amendment 51 which would fund Developmental Disability services in the state of Colorado using a sales tax of .02 for every $10 spent. She opposed it because she's against new taxes; she thinks spending ought to be prioritized if people think that the cause should be addressed.
There's a link to the story here. I also read quite a few of the comments that followed. What I got from reading them was that Colorado is 47th in the nation for funding of vocational services to people with developmental disabilities and 50th in funding for special education in K-12. And not surprisingly they are #1 in costs to special needs families in out of pocket expenses.
What intrigued me was that the creation of a such a small sales tax would provide a relatively stable funding stream for disability services and remove the specter of annual funding cuts that are so detrimental to service agencies. It would go a long way toward funding the 10,000 people with developmental disabilities currently on the waiting list in Colorado.
Surprisingly, (or not) there are a number of people in Colorado that are opposed to it, many feeling they already pay sufficient taxes to help "those people". Others saying the it is not the role of government to step in and provide services. What is absolutely not surprising is the tone of the comments which deal with government spending, taxation, wastefulness and socialism. In this election year, these are the hot buttons that rev us up and somehow end up dividing us. And as we call each other names and posture and declare ourselves "right", people with disabilities are the ones that are taking it in the shorts. Some of the people on that waiting list of 10,000 have been waiting years... some more than 10 years... all for vocational services so that they can have a job and go to work just like everyone else. While they wait, they absorb social service money instead of earning a wage.
I really struggle with this myself, because no one wants to be taxed into the ground. Yet, how could we fail to help those who cannot help themselves?
And no, I have not registered my daughter for adult services. Why? Because under the new structure in my state, she's not eligible. Even though she's been receiving services since she was 8 months old and been in special ed her entire k-12 career... she's on her own once she graduates.
What do you think about this issue?