I am a person with a disability. I am your neighbor, an active member of my local church, a taxpayer, an advocate, a leader in the community. Quite simply ... I am.
We are aware of the state budget battle and talk of service cuts and tax increases. Some legislators say offering a slight personal income tax is unreasonable. It is also unreasonable to cut services that assist people with disabilities to participate fully in community.
In this society we each are held by a shared, social safety net and that net supports us all. It serves us well to remember this, especially in tough and challenging economic times.
We must not cut services that benefit people with disabilities. Removing someone from these programs could easily lead to the person's institutionalization and a far greater financial cost than continuation of services that led to independence. Indeed, the old adage holds true: "Pay now or pay later."
As a person with a disability, I know that each of us is one wrong step, one fall, one illness, one accident away from needing these services. No one chooses to need these programs. Cutting these services would be a disservice to the whole community of which I and others with disabilities are a vital part.
I encourage my fellow citizens of the commonwealth to contact your state elected officials. Tell them services, waivers and programs that assist the disabilities community to live independently and fully participate in our shared community benefit us all.
JOHN L. TAGUE JR.