Dear Governor Pawlenty,
No doubt with the release of the supplemental budget proposal today, you will be receiving a volume of letters, emails and phone calls. I am writing today on behalf of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL). MCIL provides a wide range of services to individuals with various types of disabilities across the seven county metro areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We provide these services without regard to income, age, disability, gender, race, or ethnicity.
In reporting year 2009, we provided services to nearly 17,600 individuals. All of the services MCIL provides are designed to enable individuals to live as independently as possible in community settings, and with the intent to prevent more costly out-of-home placements.
While we maintain that all of our services are critical, two services in particular provide a significant “return on investment”, or ROI. Our Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program and our Nursing Home Relocation Coordination services (NHR) served 233 individuals in 2009. This may seem like a small number between these two particular services, but combined they provided significant ROI. Individuals served by each program meet the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) definition of “at risk” populations. Using a DHS formula for average daily nursing home costs, these two programs alone in 2009 provided an estimated long term or projected savings of more than $11,500,000.00.
During this same reporting period, MCIL received approximately $370,000.00 in direct allocation from the state’s general fund. For this modest investment, the state of Minnesota realized an impressive ROI of more than 300%.
In the 2009 legislative session MCIL received a reduction of 2.5%. In the 2010 supplemental budget we are slated for an additional 6.68%, and an additional cut of 6.76% in FY 2011. Combined this is a 16 % reduction for this biennium.
MCIL employs nearly 600 individuals, and we have operated with an administrative rate of less than 7% for the past consecutive 8 years. The wages paid to these full and part time employees translate to a substantial purchasing power on Main Street. Clearly we offer a positive example of stewardship of Minnesota’s taxpayer dollars. Reducing our allocation by another 6% will severely impact our ability to continue to provide quality cost effective services, and a continued significant ROI.
There are seven other Centers for Independent Living located across the state of Minnesota providing similar services, and doing so in the same cost effective manner. I urge you to consider these facts, and the impacts of the proposed cuts on Minnesota’s citizens with disabilities, as you work with the Legislature to resolve Minnesota’s budget challenges.
I would be pleased to respond to any questions or comments from you or your staff.