51: Increased Funding for the Disabled
A targeted sales tax increase to provide targeted funding for persons with developmental disabilities. In addition, it prohibits reductions in the level of state appropriations in the annual general appropriations bill existing on the effective date of this measure for long-term services for persons with developmental disabilities.
This is one small special interest group attempting to set their funding in the at a level they want to see. If this passes we will see 40 groups each with their own initiative in the next election.
It doesn't matter how righteous this request is, funding sources and levels are the responsibility of the legislature where they have to make the hard trade-offs between a never ending list of critical needs vs a limited amount of money. Allowing special interest groups to do an end-run around these trade-offs with feel-good legislation is a recipe for fiscal disaster.
Raising sales taxes will hurt the state's economy and citizens. The economy is already struggling with a weak housing market and high gas and food prices. Further, raising sales taxes burdens lower- and middle-income consumers the most because it cuts into a larger share of their income.
The state government already spends about $4 billion, or about 30 percent of state and federal operating dollars, to provide health-care-related services, and this spending grows every year. The measure takes an additional $186 million out of the private economy to expand the size and cost of government.
Decisions about how to spend state tax dollars are best made through an open and deliberative process that considers the needs and priorities of the entire state. Amendment 51 permanently raises taxes without any discussion about whether the measure raises an appropriate amount of money, how the new money can be spent most effectively, or how the needs of people with developmental disabilities compare with other needs in the state.
The new money must be spent on services for people with developmental disabilities even if the amount raised exceeds what is legitimately needed to provide services, which could lead to wasteful spending while other needs remain under-funded.
Many children and adults with developmental disabilities — and the families who care for them — are at the point of crisis because they cannot get needed services. No alternative public sector safety net exists to provide care for them. The demand for services continues to grow because people with developmental disabilities are vulnerable and often need life-long care, and there are many aging parents who can no longer care for their children with developmental disabilities.
Come join the discussion on this initiative at any of the following blogs:
None (so far).
Copyright© 2014 by David Thielen. All Rights Reserved