Traditionally, an even numbered year is known as a “bonding year” and odd numbered years are known as “budget years”. However, the Governor does have the authority to propose a Supplemental Budget and Gov. Walz has put together a proposal. What makes this year unique is that in addition to state dollars there are also federal dollars as part of COVID relief packages such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPC) that remain to be allocated during 2022.
The latest budget forecast shows a $7.7 billion surplus for the Minnesota budget. This is the largest surplus ever recorded.
Gov. Walz is proposing increases for a number of different programs affecting students with disabilities. Education is a critical service, from pre-school, K-12 to higher education options, people with disabilities deserve opportunities.
Those proposals are summarized below.
$22 million: Student Support Personnel: Funding to address shortages of staff and provide for students’ social, emotional, academic and physical health.
$6 million: School Linked Behavioral Health Grants: Grants to address mental health needs in schools including COVID related issues. In-person services, training, supplies and BIPOC students are funded.
$15 million: Retain and Recruit Education Support Professionals: 20 hours of training for all special education staff annually, plus paying exam fees for qualified individuals to provide services.
$6.6 million: Expand Competency-Based Education: Expansion of evidenced based models building on what students know as an alternative to traditional grading methods.
$5 million: State Funding Special Education Separate Site and Programs: Additional funding for the highest need students who receive special education services.
$683,000: Reduce funding disparities for Young Children with Disabilities: Increased funding for students who need special education in kindergarten settings to be on par with other students.
$540,000: Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Criteria Change and Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS): Updating the rule to remove the discrepancy route to eligibility and other rule changes.
$3.6 million: Provision of Special Instruction: Proposing to expand eligibility for special education services until age 22, consistent with federal law from age 21.
$4.9 million: Intermediate School District Mental Health Innovative Grant Program: Temporary grant program for services at a Level Four setting to provide mental health services for students at intermediate school districts.
$1 million: Intermediate District Support: Five intermediate school districts will receive staff development grants for providing a full-service community school model.
$900,000: Expand Targeted Services: Schools would be able to receive extended time revenue for serving students who have residential placements during the summer.
$1 million: Special Education Life Skills & Vocational Skills Secondary Transition Programs: Up to 25 schools would receive grants to upgrade transitional services for students 18-21 to provide life skills and vocational skills.
$45.6 million: Special Education Cross Subsidy: The Governor recommends cross-subsidy reduction aid be increased to reduce the state total cross-subsidy per average daily membership (ADM) steady at the FY 2019 level of $807. The special education cross-subsidy refers to general education funding that is used to pay for special education costs.
Property Tax Aids & Credits
Tax aids and credits can serve as an important source of additional income for individuals with disabilities and their families. Giving individuals discretion to allocate tax credits to things they choose can be an important way to achieve more equity.
$703 million: Direct Payments to Minnesotans: The Governor recommends a one-time direct payment to Minnesotans. The one-time payment would equal $350 for married joint and head of household filers and $175 for single and married separate filers. To be eligible for the payment, a taxpayer must have filed either a 2020 income tax return by October 15, 2021 or filed for a 2020 property tax refund by 12/31/21.
Expand the K-12 Education Tax Credit: Eligibility would be based on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) instead of total household income and the phase-out threshold would go from $33,500 to $70,000 in 2022. Revenue decrease of $12.2 million in 22-23.
Expand the Child and Dependent Care Credit: Increasing the phase-out threshold from $53,100 to $70,000, removing the marriage requirement to claim the newborn credit, and increasing the credit by 30% over the federal tax credit (but not in excess of actual expenditures) for taxable years 2022 and 2023. Revenue decrease of $17.9 million in 22-23.
$1 billion: Frontline Worker Pay: Payments of $1500 per eligible person awarded to workers who provided services during the COVID-19 pandemic in higher risk occupations in the medical and service industry. Occupations that are eligible will be determined by the legislature.
Health & Human Services
The Arc Minnesota supports investments in accessible affordable health care, and services that allow people to choose how they live and who provides supports.
$47.8 million: Increasing Health Care Affordability for Minnesotans: Individuals who have incomes too high to qualify for MinnesotaCare would be eligible for a buy-in option. The proposal would establish another option in public health care programs. Premium decreases in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) set to expire at the end of 2022 would be continued.
$1.6 million: Coverage for Undocumented Children: The Governor recommends expanding the MinnesotaCare program to provide coverage to undocumented children under the age of 19 beginning January 1, 2024. This state-only program is expected to serve an additional 1700 children.
$6.5 million: Continuous Medical Assistance Eligibility for Children Under 21: Eligibility for children under 21 would be extended to 12 months of continuous eligibility unless cancellation is requested, children have moved out of state, or pass away. After 12 months, the standard MA redetermination rules will apply.
$967 million (General) $529 million (Federal TANF): Stabilizing Working Minnesotans: Changes to the calculation of Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) to calculate benefits on a six month reporting schedule than a monthly reporting schedule, while aligning benefits more closely with SNAP food assistance and housing support.
$82 million: Addressing Deep Poverty: People at the deepest poverty level who receive General Assistance would see benefits rise from $203 per month to $344 per month. The benefits would be indexed to inflation in the future. This would be the first increase in benefits since 1986.
$35 million: Emergency Services Funding for Shelters: Additional funding to provide shelter for homeless individuals and address needs related to COVID-19 for increased safety.
$77.5 million: Service Delivery Transformation Continuation: Service Delivery Transformation Continuation: The Governor recommends funding to support continued efforts to transform the human service delivery system towards an integrated, person-centered experience for individuals and families accessing human services programs.
$5 million: Building Assets for Minnesota Families: Increases the lifetime match from $6000 to $9000 for the Family Assets for Independence program that encourages low-income families to save. Also allows participants to contribute to 529 Plans and contribute to emergency savings accounts.
$10.5 million: Expanding Children’s Psychiatric Beds: The funding would be issued through a competitive request for proposal process to hospitals or mental health providers to expand services for children in need of acute psychiatric care.
$954,000: Expanding Support for Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs): Additional funding for startup grants for new PRTFs. These facilities provide active treatment at an inpatient level of care under the direction of a physician, seven days per week, to youth under age 21 with complex mental health needs and their families, based on medical necessity.
$540,000: Expanding Mobile Transition Units and Person-Centered Discharges: Recommends expanding mobile transition units and strengthening person-centered discharge planning activities serving children and adults.
$372,000: Expanding Intensive Treatment in Foster Care: Recommends expanding eligibility for the Intensive Treatment in Foster Care Medical Assistance service to include children at risk of an out-of-home placement. This investment will allow for earlier interventions, reducing the need for children to be separated from their families and placed in foster care or residential treatment.
$3,000: American Indian Culturally Responsive Rate in Early Intensive Developmental Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI): Recommends changing eligibility for an enhanced reimbursement for (EIDBI) services to promote culturally responsive care offered to American Indian children. A provider may receive the enhanced rate if they are certified by a tribal nation.
$245,000: Children’s Mental Health Community of Practice: Recommends creating a Community of Practice focused exclusively on children’s mental health issues. This network of families, advocates, researchers, providers, and other professionals will be tasked with identifying shared solutions to behavioral health issues facing children and will attempt to identify gaps in care.
$0: (22-23) $20 million (24-25) Expanding Mobile Crisis Grants and Transition to Community Initiative: Recommends additional, ongoing funding of mobile crisis grants to strengthen the state’s mobile crisis infrastructure and help improve access to crisis services by supporting counties and tribes to staff 24-hour mobile crisis lines.
$261,000: Rate Increase for Adult Day Treatment Services: Recommends a rate increase for adult day treatment services. Adult day treatment services stabilize an individual’s mental health and improve independent living and socialization skills.
$0: (22-23) $2.2 million (24-25): Housing Transition Services through Housing Stabilization Services (HSS): Recommends ongoing funding to assist people using Housing Stabilization Services Medical Assistance benefit as they move to stable housing in the community. The proposal would provide up to $3,000 per individual in moving assistance to cover rent or security deposits, utility set-up, and home furnishing.
$0 (22-23) $763,000 (24-25): Housing Stabilization Services Eligibility Staff: Recommends establishing permanent funding for additional staffing that assess eligibility for individuals applying for Housing Stabilization Services financial assistance.
$0 (22-23) $11 million (24-25): Community Living Infrastructure Program: Recommends permanent funding for the Community Living Infrastructure Program. This grant program offers financial assistance to individuals with disabilities struggling with housing stability so they can move out of group homes or other congregate settings and return to permanent housing in the community. The program can cover rent and security deposits, utility set-up, and furnishing costs.
$0 (22-23) $3 million (24-25): Increase Transitional Housing Program: Proposes expanding the existing transitional housing program. This program is the primary state program that funds temporary housing and wrap-around support services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness as they prepare to transition to long-term housing stability.
$3.6 million: Emergency Background Study Credit: Recommends funding to credit DHS-regulated providers for costs incurred from emergency background studies conducted during the peacetime emergency following resubmission of studies for full federal and state compliance.
$8.9 million: Direct Care and Treatment Electronic Health Record: Recommends funding to continue the development of an electronic health record system for the department’s Direct Care and Treatment programs. Currently, Direct Care and Treatment is not compliant with a Department of Health mandate to have an electronic health record system.
($14.3 million – General) $14.3 million – HCAF: Adjust HCAF Appropriation for Medical Assistance. The Governor recommends increasing the Health Care Access Fund appropriation for Medical Assistance (MA). A corresponding decrease in MA spending occurs in the general fund to fund other health care priorities.
$1.5 million: Disability as a Health Equity Issue: Recommends funding to reduce health disparities among people with disabilities. Funding will support a multi-faceted, cross-agency, cross-sector approach to reduce disability related health disparities; create a health surveillance plan and implementation of community needs assessment.
$5.5 million: Safety Improvements for Long-Term Care Facilities: Recommends the establishment of a new competitive grant program that would provide support to state licensed
long-term care facilities for projects to reduce the transmission risk of COVID and other contagious respiratory conditions.
$22 million: Revitalize Health Care Workforce: Revitalize Health Care Workforce: Recommends a comprehensive workforce package to address the critical challenges in growing and revitalizing Minnesota’s health care workforce to adequately serve our rural and urban underserved families and children. The workforce crisis has been has been challenged even more by COVID-19.
$7.7 million: MNSure Technology Modernization: Recommends a series of investments to upgrade and replace the IT technology that supports the state health care exchange. These investments will transform the health care application and eligibility determination system and add self-service for consumers, and better access for systems caseworkers.
$375,000: MN Council on Disability Capacity Building: Additional staffing is recommended so the Council has the capacity to fully carry out its statutory mission.
Proposals to address public safety and support community initiatives.
$1.2 million: Office of Justice Program Investment: Recommends making an increased, ongoing investment that will enable the Department of Public Safety to address service gaps and improve quality of services, housing services and community outreach.
$12.5 million: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Intervention and Prevention: Recommends investing in programs and services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Funding would be used for competitive grants and for grant administration.
$2 million: Alternatives to Juvenile Detention – Community Outpost: Recommends funding to establish and maintain community outpost houses, which are home-bases to police officers that provide community services including basic health care, access to social services, youth programming, and a variety of classes to improve economic and familial well-being.
$10 million: Community-based Public Safety Grants: Recommends ongoing funding for grants for a variety of community-based public safety programs, including those related to issues such as pretrial services, probation, truancy, elder abuse, youth intervention, neighborhood watch, and resident engagement.
$2.8 million: Alternatives to Juvenile Detention – Youth Conflict Resolution Centers: Recommends funding additional youth conflict resolution centers, which are community spaces to facilitate conflict resolution including courses in community awareness, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, leadership, and mental health. These centers are primarily for African American youth and are intended to reduce youth violence.
$750,000: Transitional Supportive Housing for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence: Recommends funding transitional housing programming to provide medium-to-longer term housing (up to 24 months) and advocacy services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence to aid in their recovery and healing. Funding would be used to provide grants to 5-10 service providers.
$900,000: Disparities Reduction and Delinquency Prevention Subawards: Recommends expanding grant funding for disparities reduction and delinquency prevention programming in the juvenile justice system.
Upholding the human rights of individuals with disabilities is core to The Arc Minnesota’s mission.
$228,000: Equity and Inclusion Strategic Compliance: Recommends funding to add capacity to the Department’s Office of Equity and Inclusion for Minnesota Businesses. This request would provide the department with needed capacity to help ensure more efficient and effective enforcement of the state’s Workforce Certificates and Equal Pay Certificates.
$383,000: Prohibit Rental Discrimination Based on Public Housing Assistance Status: Recommends providing funding to investigate charges of source of income discrimination in public housing. This request would also update public assistance status protections under the Minnesota Human Rights Act to ensure that renters who access housing choice vouchers (“Section 8”) are treated equally to other renters.
Provisions to reduce hunger or related to needs related to agriculture.
$3 million: Hunger Relief: Recommends increasing grants to Second Harvest Heartland to provide more protein, milk, and surplus agriculture to families facing hunger.
$975,000: Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis: Recommends funding for the safe and responsible legalization of cannabis for adults in Minnesota, which will include a fiscal impact for the Department of Agriculture. A new Cannabis Management Office would be responsible for the implementation of the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis, along with the medical cannabis program, and a program to regulate hemp and hemp-derived products. Many individuals with disabilities may choose to access legal cannabis.
People with disabilities benefit greatly from accessible affordable housing that truly meets the desire of people to live in the community. Housing is a basic human right.
$100 million: Community Stabilization: Recommends a one-time increase in funding to preserve and improve existing housing commonly referred to as Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH). Investing in existing housing is an important and cost-effective way to maintain housing that is currently affordable to low-income households. In recent years the affordability of housing throughout the state has been eroded as older apartments and single-family homes are purchased and upscaled, leading to increased rents or home values.
$10 million: Housing Trust Fund – Rental Assistance: Recommends an increase in funding for the Housing Trust Fund program to provide rental assistance for individuals and families. The state’s rental assistance program helps meet the overall need in the state that is not met through federal programs. Only one out of every four individuals/families that is income-qualified for federal rent receives it.
$19.5 million: Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP): Recommends an increase in funding for the Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP). Significant one-time federal resources, including the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program, will run out in 2022, leaving many renters one life incident away from losing their housing without adequate homelessness prevention resources.
$12 million: Strengthen the Supportive Housing Model: Recommends an increase in funding to strengthen supportive housing for individuals and families who are at risk of or have experienced homelessness. Certain costs—such as front desk and security costs— are needed for permanent supportive housing developments to operate effectively; however, many do not have a reliable or coordinated source of funding.
Employment & Economic Development
There are many employment supports and economic assistance benefiting people with disabilities.
$170 million: Broadband Development: Recommends one-time funding for the State’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant program. This funding would continue the work of the program, which is a competitive matching-fund grant program, designed to act as a catalyst to public and private investments in broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the state. Greater access to broadband is needed for persons with disabilities.
$11.78 million: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance: Recommends $11.748 million from the general fund in FY 2023 only and applying a 0.6% employer premium rate to employee wages beginning in calendar year 2024 to establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program.
The Governor recommends allowing employees to pay for one-half of the premium rate. In FY 2024 only.
$50 million: Nonprofit Resiliency & Recovery Fund: Recommends one-time funding to create the Nonprofit Resiliency and Recovery Fund, to provide financial support to nonprofits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds would be distributed through a randomized selection process, and nonprofits that provide essential health and human services would be prioritized, alongside carveouts of $10 million each for culturally specific organizations and small nonprofits located in Greater Minnesota. To be eligible, nonprofits must be located within the state of Minnesota and must have been adversely impacted due to COVID-19.
$104 million: Earned Sick and Safe Time: Recommends statutory changes to require employers to provide employees one hour of earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. This earned sick and safe time could be used for the employee’s own health condition or to care for an ill family member, or for certain absences due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
$160 million: Safe Housing for the Elderly and Vulnerable Adults: Recommends statutory changes to include assisted living and assisted living with dementia care facilities, as licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), to the list of State Licensed Facilities under the Department’s Construction Codes and Licensing Division (CCLD) jurisdiction. Assisted Living is the only remaining type of housing in Minnesota serving vulnerable adults not under CCLD jurisdiction.
$256,000: Advancing Application Accessibility: Recommends improving the accessibility of state technology for Minnesotans with a disability by conducting an evaluation of the accessibility of executive branch software applications and online services, and by identifying opportunities to enhance accessibility. Improved services to the disability community is the goal.
$150,000: Supporting Accessible Technology in State Government: Recommends providing additional funding for Minnesota IT Services (MNIT’s) Office of Accessibility. This proposal would provide ongoing support to efforts enhancing accessible government for all Minnesotans. The recommended funding would allow the office to continue current services with increased personnel costs.
Funding for state government agencies and related enterprises. Agencies like the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities are part of Administration.
$1 million: Enterprise Language Access Services: Recommends providing translation services for state agencies through a newly established Office of Enterprise Translations within the Department of Administration. The Office would provide in-house translation services for written material and additional services.
$1 million: Cross-Agency Coordination – Children’s Cabinet: Recommends providing dedicated funding for the Children’s Cabinet to align the funding model with the practices of other states and to provide coordination among agencies and engagement with Minnesotans on issues impacting children, including: education strategies from birth onward; early education and child care.
$350 million: COVID-19 Emergency Response: Recommends an account be established for emergency response efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This flexible account provides funding for the state to quickly and appropriately respond to changing conditions and allows for the allocation of resources when and where they are most needed. Funding has been needed throughout the pandemic to respond to new challenges and promote public health goals.
$48 million: Earned Sick and Safe Time: Recommends statutory changes to require employers to provide employees one hour of earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. This earned sick and safe time could be used for the employee’s own health condition or to care for an ill family member, or for certain absences due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
Written by Gene Martinez, Legislative Advocacy Coordinator