From 9News.com, Colorado, October 21 (via Justice For All Blog)
Read more about Amendment 51 here.
DENVER - Republican Vice Presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) is speaking against a Colorado ballot initiative designed to help the state's developmentally disabled population by raising the sales tax.
Palin made the comments Monday in Colorado against Amendment 51 which seeks to raise the sales tax by one cent on every $10 spent in each of the next two years.
The money would go to help the roughly 12,000 kids and adults in Colorado who currently are on a wait list to receive state services such as home nursing care and job training. They suffer from autism, Down syndrome and mental retardation. Palin's son has Down syndrome and she has campaigned as an advocate for special needs families.
"There's got to be an alternative to raising taxes," Palin said, while answering a question submitted by former Colorado First Lady Frances Owens, who describes herself as a "fiscal conservative," a supporter of the McCain-Palin ticket and as one of the spokespeople in favor of Amendment 51. "It's a matter of prioritizing the dollars that are already there in government. What I did as governor in Alaska is prioritize for a great increase in funding for students with special needs up there and I think Colorado can do that also.
"It doesn't necessarily mean increasing taxes to meet those needs. It's all a matter of prioritization," said Palin.
Supporters of the amendment have said there is no "extra money" sitting around state government to help people who deserve it. Owens says compassionate conservatives should support helping people with developmental disabilities because it's a moral issue as much as it is a fiscal one.
"If they cannot get services that will help them get into the workforce then they are relegated to staying at home and they will never prosper in their own lives," said Owens in an interview the day after Palin spoke. "So, I think it's more of a human rights issue that we're just trying to help people that can't always help themselves."
A group called End Colorado's Wait List is promoting the measure (http://endcoloradowaitlist.org/). There is no organized opposition to Amendment 51 although Colorado critics have articulated the point Palin made; that there has to be money available in state government to divert toward those with developmental disabilities.