Advocates want more money for adult care, disability servicesAdvocates plan to pressure the Minnesota Legislature for an increase in funding for disability and adult care services during next year’s session.
By: Tom Olsen , Duluth News Tribune
Advocates plan to pressure the Minnesota Legislature for an increase in funding for disability and adult care services during next year’s session.
The “5 Percent” campaign, launched Tuesday on the steps of Duluth City Hall, seeks an increase in funding that would allow for increased wages and staffing levels of caregivers, primarily in group homes.
Rep. Tom Huntley of Duluth said it was a matter that should have been addressed last year.
“We got a 5 percent increase for nursing homes, but we didn’t get the same for the disability community,” Huntley said. “We’re not keeping up with inflation. I’ve always believed that the disability community should be getting the same as what the nursing home community is getting. They’re doing the same job.”
Fellow DFL Reps. Erik Simonson of Duluth and Mary Murphy of Hermantown also are backing the effort.
While the increase for nursing homes came with a price tag of about
$30 million, the one for the disability community would cost about $70 million, Huntley said.
The coalition is asking the Legislature to authorize the funding during its regular session that begins in January, with the goal of it taking effect on July 1, 2014.
The campaign is being led by The Arc Minnesota, a nonprofit group that advocates for people with intellectual and development disabilities.
The advocates say a funding increase is necessary to keep direct support professionals at a reasonable pay level and reduce the high turnover rate among staff.
The group plans to begin contacting members of the House and Senate, both of which are controlled by Democrats, and hopes to get Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to throw his support behind the proposal.