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Minimum wage should not penalize disabled [Letter]

Thanks to Laura Howell for her commentary on the disaster that would befall community services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities if the minimum wage is increased without a corresponding increase in state funding for the direct support staff workers who provide these services ("Minimum wage debate ignores crucial group," Jan. 15).

The Arc Baltimore relies on hundreds of support staff. They are the reason our mission of quality support gets fulfilled. The good news is that there are dozens of such workers whose dedication has kept them doing this work despite low wages. The sad news is that hundreds more have been driven away by the necessity of paying the bills and supporting their families.

Because The Arc Baltimore advocates for people with disabilities and their families to receive needed community supports, we also advocate for those who provide that support. Raising the minimum wage should benefit all low wage workers. Gov. Martin O'Malley and the state legislature must ensure these valued direct support workers are not overlooked.

Stephen H. Morgan, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of The Arc Baltimore, a nonprofit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the greater Baltimore area.

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