Posted at 4:42 PM on March 8, 2007 by Bob Collins (3 Comments)
Remember that campaign of 2006 that ushered in a wave of DFLers with promises to do something about property tax relief, a cap on tuitions, health care expansion etc. etc. etc? Well, um, never mind. The Senate DFL bosses released their targets to the committee chairs today and some of them are not thrilled at what they will not be able to do now.
What say you?
By the way, try out the MPR Budget Balancer.
I propose the Health and Human Services Budget Long Term Care be increases by 300 million, which the Budget Balancer says is a 6 to 7 percent increase.
Long Term Care includes the 5 State-operated Veterans Homes. We've seen what happens when their budget is not increased for 6 years (2000 - 2006), and then they got a $4 Million increase for staffing in 2006, and the management hired 1.5 nurses and spent the rest of the money on something else.
To compensate for the deficiencies in resident care at the Minneapolis Vets Home, the Health Department is now providing 'oversight' for resident care. The Health Department is also fining the home $1850 a day, which I understand is a state-imposed fine that the Vets Homes, operated by the state, pay to the state. So this looks like one of those 'Robbing Peter to Pay Paul' situations.
Budget Balancer says the $300 Million increase would need to be offset by increasing taxes or cutting the budget for a different category.
Who would I cut? I don't know. I guess I'd increase taxes instead. Or how about redirecting that new Hennepin County tax for the stadium we're not building to care for Veterans and residents of nursing homes instead?
If I want to watch baseball, I can go to Ramsey County and watch the Saints. Or go to a local ballfield and watch a community team. I think there's leagues all over the state. And they already have outdoor ballfields.
Posted by Nancy G | March 8, 2007 5:13 PM
I have to admit, I was a bit surprised with the Senate DFL's numbers. Without knowing how they might spend some of the one-time money out there, the Governor is currently outshining the DFL on environmental spending.
Since you mentioned the governor, let me share my favorite quote from him: "Who should be a higher priority than the men and women serving in our military to get some of the benefits of the budget surplus that we have currently? I mean who should go to the head of the line ahead of them? The answer is nobody. These people should be taken care of first and foremost to the best of our abilities," Pawlenty said, in an interview with MPR's Tim Pugmire, 2 February 2007.
And I'd like to also emphasize the message that Congressman Oberstar delived to the Legislature when he visited: You have to spend money to get money when it comes to federal matching funds.
If the Minnesota Veterans Homes are severed from $7 Million in federal funding if they can't meet federal standards, where will the funds come from to compensate for that loss? MFL bake sales?
Posted by Nancy G | March 8, 2007 6:39 PM