Letter: People with disabilities receive harsh blow from veto

Published 9:04 am Monday, June 18, 2018

Our legislators stood for people with disabilities; veto dealt them out

A hard-fought effort at the Capitol in the past few years gave disability service providers an increase to help solve our workforce shortage.  This was wiped out by the governor’s veto pen. The state omnibus bill was his target, and it contained a fix for a looming 7 percent cut to fees paid for services.

Funding is determined by state and federal government. We operate on a shoestring, with direct care staff wages that struggle to compete with foodservice and other jobs.

Email newsletter signup

Many thanks to the state legislators who spoke up for us:  Sen. Dan Sparks, Rep. Jeanne Poppe,

Rep. Peggy Bennett and Sen. John R. Jasinski. We will need their help again.

When the 7 percent cut was announced, within days, legislators wrote a bill to restore the funding.

Legislation now dead, the impact is severe. Like any household with a budget crunch, we now need to decide what we can do without.

How do we attract caring, educated people away from the lure of easier work in other fields which often pay more than we can?

Cedar Valley Services is a nonprofit in Austin, Albert Lea and Owatonna that places people with disabilities in jobs in the community.

In the next legislative session, service providers will again ask for funding to increase wages to help fill some 9,000 direct service job openings.  Yes, it is a workforce crisis for services to vulnerable adults with the most significant disabilities.

Richard Pavek

Cedar Valley Services, Inc.

Executive Director