Minnesota Republicans are proposing to cut the Meals on Wheels program as a way to balance the budget. In contrast, they refuse to raise taxes on the wealthiest 5% of Minnesotans so that they pay the same percent the rest of us do. The wealthy make no sacrifices to fix our state deficit and Gramma loses her Meals on Wheels.
“We’re looking to reduce state spending in the largest area of state spending, which is growing out of control,” said state Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and one of the bill’s lead sponsors. “None of these are going to be easy.”
Let’s be clear. The Republican budget will go easy on the millionaires.
How short-sighted, cruel and stupid is Hann’s proposal?
“At a time when we’re working to prepare for a doubling of the senior population in the next 20 years, this is the wrong direction to be going,” said Patrick Rowan, executive director of Metro Meals on Wheels, an association that represents the numerous nonprofits that deliver hot meals to Twin Cities seniors.
A proposed $2.68 million cut to “senior nutrition program grants” over the next two years – a halving of state spending from projected levels – would result in an additional $1.9 million in federal funds being withheld, creating a 25 percent cut in overall funding, according to Jean Wood, director of the Aging and Adult Services Division for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which administers the program. If state funding falls below certain levels, the federal government reduces the amount it pays to states in accordance with the federal Older Americans Act, which was first passed in 1965 and governs many social services for older Americans.