ST. PAUL — State Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, said the Minnesota House majority’s passage of a bill to cut $26 million next biennium from the senior living baseline funding is cause for strong statewide concern.
The cut is part of a Health and Human Services omnibus bill (HF 1233), which passed the House late Monday night 70-64 and awaits Senate action.
“We need to be doing more to support seniors – not less – and this bill takes us the wrong direction,” Nornes said. “I continue working to do more to support our long-term care facilities and hospitals, especially as the Baby Boomers reach retirement age and leave us with an even greater need for care.”
More than two dozen members from the Republicans’ Rural Caucus participated in a press conference Monday to highlight the proposed cuts, and called on House Democrats to fully fund the promises made to Minnesota seniors.
“Our group supports a full 5-percent increase for nursing homes, senior care homes and group homes,” Nornes said. “The key to setting a responsible budget is sticking to your priorities and care for vulnerable citizens should be a top priority. It is unsettling to see the majority cut funding in this area despite proposing billions of dollars in new taxes and fees. They are looking to fund wasteful government programs in the metro, but are failing to provide seniors the funding they deserve.”
Nornes said nursing homes have been forced to do more with less for years, and now the majority's budget cuts will jeopardize 115 senior living facilities, 15,000 long-term care workers, and countless communities in Greater Minnesota.
“Reports show 47 percent of the nursing homes in northwest Minnesota already are at risk,” Nornes said. “This cut in funding could make it awfully hard for many of them to keep their doors open, leaving seniors without the care they need and also eliminating much-needed jobs from our local economies.”