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Leaders Announce Joint Budget Targets
On March 23, 2023 by Erin Huppert, LAMN
This week, legislative leaders and Governor Walz announced they had reached global budget targets for creating Minnesota’s biennial budget (FY2023-2025). This agreement sets the stage for the Legislature to spend the state’s $17.6 billion surplus. According to the agreement, human services has been given a $1.3 billion target for the two-year period, and health care an additional $755 million.
These targets come at a time when the legislative activity remains at an all-time high; the House and Senate both reached 3,000 bill introductions this week, which has never happened in the first year of the biennium (based on records starting in 1983).
What do these targets mean for aging services?
The joint budget targets released this week leave many questions for seniors and their caregivers, like:
How much of this $1.3 billion is ongoing versus one-time funding?
Where will other proposals with financial considerations fall within these targets?
We need $1 billion over the next four years to get our caregivers a starting wage of $22 an hour. Other providers in human services also have deep needs, so we worry that $1.3 billion for all of human services is not close to enough to cover the severe needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and professional caregivers.
Committees will begin building their omnibus bills starting next week, so LeadingAge Minnesota is working closely with its Long-Term Care Imperative partner to gather more information on the specifics of these targets.
In the meantime, we must keep pressure on our state representatives and senators. The governor did not prioritize seniors and their caregivers in his proposed budget, so the Legislature needs to show leadership on this Minnesotan value. They need to make the most of that $1.3 budget target and, given a $17 billion surplus, determine if more can be done.
Contact your local legislator today and ensure seniors are included in “One Minnesota.”
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