Higher revenues needed to support children, families with disabilities

Published 4:54 pm Saturday, May 4, 2013

By Aaron DeVries

Maple Island

My wife, my two children, and I went to St. Paul Thursday April 25 and stood with hundreds of others in the State Capitol Rotunda to say to our legislators, “We Matter.” The “We” are the tens of thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities, their loved ones, and their support staff. We needed to say “We Matter” to our elected officials because too often in the past decade, there haven’t been enough revenues to fund the services that make life possible for people with disabilities and their families.

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Our daughter has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. She needs the medical care, the therapies, and other services that help maintain her health and enable us to raise her at home. Without enough state revenues, essential supports like these for many families like ours are in danger of budget cuts.

So far this session, we have not seen budget cuts proposed for disability services. However, we still have a budget deficit to close, and whether disability services are cut depends on the Legislature’s willingness to raise enough revenues. I want to thank Sen. Dan Sparks for his votes for higher revenues during the debate this week on the Senate tax bill. As a parent of a child with disabilities, I think Sen. Sparks’ “yes” vote for more revenues is a vote for the services my daughter and thousands of other Minnesotans depend on.