Stack: universal voucher program puts those with disabilities on equal footing

The universal voucher program initiative of Gov. Doug Ducey keeps Arizonians ahead of the curve for students with and without disabilities.

Robert Stack

Arizona is recognized as the best state in the country for support services for persons with disabilities. People with disabilities do not want a hand out. They do not want a segregated voucher program.

They want to be given the same opportunities and the same treatment as every other student. Students and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities and other disabilities want to live and work and enjoy life just as any other Arizonian without disabilities.

It is certainly not because of the tax base. Certainly California, New York and New Jersey have a much larger personal income tax extraction methodology than Arizona. The state of Arizona is managed well relative to the supports for persons with disabilities.

Arizona has one of the smallest number of persons with disabilities living in institutions and has some of the strongest integrated programs in the United States. Although there are plans to focus on a managed care system, Arizona continues to be a champion for persons with disabilities.

Gov. Ducey can still do more for enabling better supported employment programs for people with disabilities and they need to focus on placing people with disabilities under the age of 50 from nursing homes.

However, as a national advocate for persons with disabilities and a provider of services, we can unilaterally give the Governor an “A” in the realms of advocacy and supports for persons with disabilities. He believes that anyone who wants to work can and should work; we do too.

Gov. Ducey knows there is still a great deal more to accomplish. Let’s hope that he maintains this focus and looks at the fundamental benefits of supporting families with disabilities; a better life for Arizonians with disabilities.

Editor’s note: Mr. Stack is president and CEO of Community Options, Inc.

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