Minnesota Public Radio reports that state lawmakers are struggling with how to implement a 20% pay cut for family caregivers that was included in the state’s budget.
While a judge has temporarily blocked the cut, more than 17,000 in the state rely on personal care assistants to help them with everyday tasks and lawmakers agree it needs a permanent fix.
State Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, who oversees the committee that reduced the wages of family members serving as personal care assistants, said the cut is expected to save the state about $24 million.
“The reason it happened in the first place wasn’t to be mean or cause harm to any population group at all,” said Abeler, chairman of the House, Health and Human Services Committee. “The goal was to keep a system intact.”
Trimming the pay for family members prevented an across-the-board cut to all home care providers. Abeler said he understands that the decision is hard on families, especially in a down economy, and he’s interested in finding a solution. But he said the money would have to come from somewhere.
“Our budget is not, you know, like flush,” he said. “There’s a small surplus but we’ve restored the cash flow account first, then the reserves, and then people don’t like the school shift and those are the three priorities. I personally would be surprised if I’m given any new money to spend in my area.”