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January 1, 2011
Update May 25, 2011:
Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the Health and Human Services Finance Omnibus bill, Senate File 760. The bill, which proposed $1.8 billion in cuts to health and human services spending, contained 28 provisions that would have directly impacted children and their families.
According to Governor Dayton's veto letter, "...the bill makes many short-sighted reductions to services that support vulnerable families and children. For example, the 50% reduction in the home visiting program undermines a proven program that stabilizes low-income families and supports healthy child development."
Governor Dayton also addresses the cut to Children and Community Services Act (CCSA) and child welfare grants, and states, "The bill also reduces funds counties and tribes use to protect children who have been abused and or neglected. In each instance, these reductions will result in more deep-end service costs down the road".
Governor Dayton¹s six-page veto letter also expresses his opposition to: funding cuts for mental health services; residency requirements in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP); insufficient funding for the Adoption Assistance program; moving low-income Minnesotans off of MinnesotaCare and into the private market; and efforts to restrict Minnesota¹s ability to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The 2011 Regular Legislative Session ended without an approved budget for the upcoming biennium, which begins on July 1, 2011. Governor Dayton expects to meet with Legislative Leadership in the coming days to negotiate a final budget proposal. Once a budget is agreed upon, Governor Dayton will call the Legislature in for a Special Session. If a budget is not passed and signed by July 1, 2011, government operations will shut down.
May 16, 2011: The Senate and House are in the process of finalizing budgets for the coming biennium (July 1, 2011- June 30, 2013). To balance the budget and close the more than $5 billion deficit, both legislative bodies passed budget bills with massive cuts. Governor Dayton’s proposed budget contains a mix of large cuts and $3.2 billion in additional revenue, mostly through an income tax increase on the wealthiest Minnesotans (top 5.8 percent of filers). The Governor and the Legislature must agree on a final budget by close of session (May 23, 2011), go into special session or face a government shutdown. See the May summary of the Senate & House proposed budgets
The Health and Human Services Conference Committee released their final budget on 5/12/11. See a summary of the HHS Final Budget Tens of thousands of Minnesota children would be impacted. See the Projected Number of Children and Families impacted by this budget in areas from prevention, intervention, family assistance, mental health, child care and health care.
Children’s Defense Fund–Minnesota (CDF–MN) is concerned with the number of proposals contained in both the Senate (Senate File 760) and House (House File 1362) Health and Human Services (HHS) Finance Omnibus bills that will jeopardize the well-being of Minnesota’s children. Many of the proposed cuts may save money in the short-term; however, these short-term savings will result in greater long-term costs to our children and our state.
Investing in Minnesota's future must begin with its children. Ensuring that children have access to the services and supports they need is crucial to their healthy development, their success as productive adults and how their success impacts the state's future. Alarmingly, the Senate and House budget proposals fail to invest in the state’s future leaders, parents and workers – Minnesota's 1.2 million children. Not only are the current budget bills void of critical investments in child well-being, they cut or eliminate existing critical programs and services. By failing to ensure the success of Minnesota's children, all Minnesotans may ultimately pay the price down the road.
CDF–MN’s three overarching areas of concern with the current proposals:
1. The proposals cut and eliminate funding for supportive services, including prevention and intervention, placing thousands of vulnerable and at-risk children in even greater peril. Several proposals affect services for children who are neglected and abused; and many proposals affect children’s mental health services.
2. The proposals reduce needed work supports for low-income children and their families, and will make it more difficult for families to provide their children with basic needs and stability, thereby making it substantially more difficult for families to move out of poverty. As a result, more children and their families will be pushed deeper into poverty.
3. The proposals restructure the delivery of Minnesota’s public health care programs by shifting low-income Minnesotans into the private market, which will ultimately affect access to affordable and quality healthcare for children and families.