Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal this week. With this additional spending, the Governor’s budget now includes a $3.7 billion increase in general fund spending to bring the proposed 2016-17 state budget to $43 billion.
This supplemental budget proposal spends all but $13 million of the state’s $1.9 billion surplus. Despite this additional spending plan, the Governor fails to prioritize the surplus on repairing our roads and bridges or making serious investments in our nursing homes.
Included in the Governor’s supplemental budget plan is $25 million for nursing homes. It is good to see the Governor include nursing home funding in his supplemental budget given the fact he did not include any new funding in his original proposal. However, upon hearing from local nursing home administrators and experts from across the state, the Governor’s proposed funding does not do enough to effectively address the issues facing our nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
While it is disappointing to see the Governor’s lack of enthusiasm in seriously addressing the problems that face our nursing homes, I am encouraged by the bipartisan work being done in the House where my colleagues and I have been working to find solutions to the challenges surrounding Minnesota’s aging population.
Chronic underfunding has left care facilities in a tough position as they look to continue to offer their patients the best care but are unable to offer a competitive wage or benefits to prospective care-givers leading to a shortage in employees.
House File 316, chief authored by Rep. Joe Schomacker, addresses many of the staff recruitment and retention problems that nursing homes are facing by reforming the current nursing home payment system and changing the way Minnesota pays for services for older adults.
Our seniors and those who care for them deserve to be a priority. That is why it is time to provide a major investment in our nursing homes and modify the rate system so that it is sustainable in order for our long-term care facilities, especially those in Rural Minnesota, to provide the best care possible for our loved ones.
Starting next week, I will begin updating you on bills I have introduced that have received committee hearings. Many of these bills have a direct, positive, impact on our communities and I am encouraged by the positive feedback they have received from my colleagues.
Upcoming Town Hall Meetings
I will be hosting a series of town hall meetings on Saturday, March 28th. I encourage all to attend these meetings and voice their questions, comments, or concerns on issues affecting our area and state. Details for the meetings are listed below.
Red Apple Café
116 North Main Street
Mahonomen, MN 56557
Callaway City Hall
321 Main Ave.
Callaway, MN 56521
111 East Main Avenue
Frazee, MN 56544
119 Main Street NE
Menahga, MN 56464
West Forty Restaurant
906 1st West
Park Rapids, MN 56470
D& R Café
27 Central St. W
Bagley, MN 56621
As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have a question or comment about a piece of legislation or a state agency. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9918 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,