1 cent sales tax increase for care to mentally retarded citizens
Most Florida residents are unaware of the plight of the mentally retarded population in our State. They assume that the tax dollars that they already pay are more than enough to provide basic care to them. This is simply not so. Our State currently serves 36,000 mentally retarded citizens with care and has 19,000 on waiting lists, some, desperately, for more than 5 years. These folks are waiting for services as basic as helping them get bathed, fed, toiletted and taking their medications. Aging parents are dying leaving them with no one. The rise in Autism is alarming and requires us to pay special attention to the plight of these individuals now more than ever before. I am an advocate for many challenged individuals and have to fight tooth and nail to get them the care that they require just to survive a day in their lives getting their most basic needs met to protect their health and absolute safety. The programs that serve them are always the first to get budget cuts because they are defenseless and therefore the easiest targets/victims for politicians who want to appear to be acting fiscally responsible. Governor Scotts recent emergency cuts to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities budget threatened to send many back into institutions for their basic care...and was overturned upon examination...this was an unconscionable act that would have required workers in these programs to earn less than minimum wage for doing work that few are willing to do. Even before the cuts, many workers earned less than min wage. "It is what it is" and "it costs what it costs". These programs are underfunded in the process of normal government spending. Politicians never want to pay what it costs...Spending more tax dollars is a very unpopular message to take to the American people...Recent investigations revealed that waste, fraud and abuse are NOT responsible for these budget shortfalls....THE CAUSE IS UNDERFUNDING ...we need to fund these folks so that they can survive outside of the torture chambers (institutions) of old. The battle to save them is on my friends...Let us all agree to an increase of 1 cent in our state sales tax to be paid directly to these individuals through the agency for persons with disabilities BUDGET... This agency is not perfect, and many administrative cuts need to occur within it, but it is the machine that we have in place currently to serve this population. Let us fund it appropriately so that these folks who are helpless don't suffer any more. We will not notice this 1 cent and they certainly will. It will make a difference in the lives of these defenseless, innocent unfortunate beings. Let us pay this attention to the most needy among us. No better cause exists in our society than to help the helpless.