Steamboat Springs Amendment 51 is a painless measure meant to relieve such a painful situation:
1) For every $5 we spend on services, restaurants, bars, or lodging, 1 cent of sales tax would go toward funding services for our friends, brothers, sisters, relatives and citizens of Colorado affected with developmental disability.
2) 51 would not impact the cost of food, heating, electricity, gasoline or prescription drugs which already are impacted by the poor state of our economy.
3) A "yes" to amend the Colorado statutes to increase our sales tax only 0.1 percent has an amazing impact: It will reduce, or hopefully eliminate, the waiting list of citizens who need services. In Colorado, we have 10,000 citizens with developmental disabilities currently waiting to receive services. This roughly equals the population of Steamboat in need of job training, speech, occupational, behavioral therapy and various services crucial for our most vulnerable citizens.
Otherwise, what happens to these young men and women turning 21 years old and leaving the school system? It is the beginning of another series of nightmares for our families.
I am the mother of an 11-year-old boy who has autism, and my biggest anxiety is what will happen to James when I die, despite all the plans I have in place? As a parent, my dream is to increase my son's independence to its fullest extent. The reality is that he will have needs, and to a certain degree, will depend on our society to stay safe and become a meaningful member of our community.
Like my son, our citizens with special needs can't speak up for themselves, but you can. Amendment 51 is not a question of compassion; it is a question of social responsibility, respect and dignity. Please invest in the future of our children and vote "yes" on 51.