Hundreds of people with disabilities and their advocates met with state lawmakers, Tuesday, with a difficult request during these tough fiscal times: Stop the cuts to services.
The state is facing a nearly $900-million budget gap and agencies have been told to brace for more cuts. Those with disabilities say, in the long run, those cuts will wind up costing taxpayers more.
"We create taxpayers. We turn tax burdens into tax assets," said Jason Price with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services.
Price is proof that those who live with disabilities not only can be productive, given a little help they will be productive.
The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services helps people with disabilities become more independent, perhaps by outfitting their car with handicapped accessible controls or getting folks motorized wheelchairs or accessories.
Price says that puts people to work…instead of being put on public assistance.
"If everyone's paying their taxes, if everyone's paying their premiums, if people have health insurance they don't have to go to the emergency room and not having to fight through government assistance healthcare, then it's a win-win for all. The more people that work the better off this great state is," Price said.
Price says putting people with handicaps to work also helps with their self-esteem and their ability to thrive.