Leo’s Letter: Turning 22

Governor Baker’s inaugural speech in January 2015 touched on schools, opioid addiction, and giving hope to people struggling in economically-challenged communities. His speech quoted JFK with a call for government “to be as efficient, responsive and innovative as it can be.” This is something The Arc has embraced in calling for continual evolution of services and responsiveness to families.

In the past ten days, our team has heard from families who live Northboro, Andover, Revere, and Braintree. Three of these families were told that the funds to help their young adult’s transition to services were not there. We reported that the budget had a shortfall for Turning 22 and day/employment services. In the last month we reached out to the administration and the ways/means committee leaders to make them aware of supplemental budget needs. But it’s different when you hear from the individuals and families themselves.

andrew-1024x768These stories are the front end of what we’ll hear as 900 plus youth with intellectual disabilities need adult assistance each year. Are we being as “responsive and innovative” as we can be (answering the “efficient” question takes longer!)?

But we can’t answer that question without a debate on taxes. I only want to start the discussion; because we aren’t being “responsive enough” even if it’s all we can do at the moment. Ask the families.

The George W. Bush era tax cuts (which continue) did not result in the economic growth expected and the cost of extending them for “upper-income taxpayers roughly equals social security shortfall” ( CBPP here ). On the state level, David Braddock in his “State of the States on Developmental Disabilities” said years ago that states with the 6% income tax did best serving people with disabilities.

If it’s not about increasing revenue, then what’s the answer? The Arc is fighting for more family supports, self-determination and other progressive agenda items that are more cost-effective. But that won’t get us out of this impending crisis. We’re open – we are asking. And we need families and others who care to join us on this journey!

One Comment:

  1. I am also concerned about the Turning 22 funding as my son turns 22 in FY 18 and will require residential supports as he has been residential for the past 11 years!

    Do we need to advocate for a specified revenue source, such as lottery or casino proceeds, to help fund disability services?

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