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ICYMI: Governor Releases Updated Budget Proposal

Last week, Governor Tim Walz released an updated supplemental budget that proposes to use the state’s more than $9 billion in general fund surplus. The Governor's proposed budget serves as a negotiating position in final budget conversations. Legislators in the House and Senate majorities will also advance their budget proposals in the upcoming weeks.

While we are disappointed that the budget does not reflect our most significant need—funding of permanent wage increases for employees throughout the long-term care system—it does include a few items that will provide one-time funding:

  • Workforce Revitalization ($205 million): This program provides grants to long-term care providers for retention bonuses and to cover employee education, childcare and transportation costs.
  • Continue Next Generation CNA Training Program ($20 million): The initial program was funded with American Rescue Plan funds and trained 1,000 CNAs. This funding would allow the program to continue to provide free nurse aide training to interested individuals. It is estimated that the program would fund 3,000 CNA students per year for two years.
  • Safety Improvement Fund for Long-Term Care Facilities ($13.7 million): A grant program for state licensed long-term care facilities, which includes nursing homes and assisted living, to fund improved infection control and resident experience through physical plant improvements and updated technology.
  • Expand Assisted Living Survey Activities ($12.5 million): The budget proposes to expand these activities using funds that are currently in the special revenue account for that purpose and at this point they are not proposing to increase license fees.

While we're pleased to see the Governor's budget includes one-time measures to support senior services, it's going to take more to fill the 23,000 open positions across our sector. We need the Legislature to commit to permanent solutions that will support caregivers with the wages they deserve and improve access to care for Minnesota's seniors. (See featured article on HF 3729)

ADVOCATE: CALL YOUR LAWMAKERS

Legislative leaders are debating how much to spend on budget priorities now. We need to ensure that your ability to hire and keep workers is at the top of their list. Call your lawmaker. Tell them a one-time bonus would be appreciated, but it isn’t the answer we need to solve our caregiving crisis. Instructions: CLICK HERE then enter your address and phone number. Almost immediately, you’ll get a call to your phone and then our system will patch you through to the individuals that represent you and the Governor. Below you’ll find a few talking points you can use to guide your conversation, but they will also pop up on your screen as you complete your calls.

  • I'm calling in support of SF 3195 / HF 3729, which provides permanent solutions to help fill the 23,000 open caregiver positions across Minnesota's long-term care sector.
  • The workforce crisis in long term care can only be solved with a permanent investment from the State of Minnesota.
  • The funding for permanent investments in Medicaid rates included in SF 3195 / HF 3729 will allow us to raise wages, recruit new workers, and retain the dedicated professionals who care for Minnesota's seniors.
  • One-time solutions won’t address the fundamental issue – it will take higher wages to recruit and retain the workers needed to fill 23,000 open positions.
  • A one-time bonus would be appreciated but isn’t the answer we need to solve our caregiving crisis.

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