Governor Pawlenty submitted his supplementary budget Monday night, and advocates for the mentally ill found enormous cuts for programs that assisted the people they help.
The Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network and their supporters gathered Tuesday at noon at the Capitol with news that Governor Pawlenty’s budget called for $347 million in cuts to health services. The bulk of these cuts are the proposed $250 million per year in cuts in aid to local governments. Ed Eide of the Mental Health Assocation of Minnesota said that this translates to a dramatic cut in services for the mentally ill.
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Much of the focus of the day’s advocacy centered around the GAMC and the current effort by the legislature to keep the program running beyond March 31, when it is scheduled to expire.
Representative Larry Hosch (DFL- St. Joseph) criticized Gov. Pawlenty for making cuts to essential services. “The Governor says that we should sit down and discuss the budget like a family,” Hosch said. “But we don’t tell members of our family ‘you can’t sit with us, you’re too expensive.'”
Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville) said that a single-payer system has been introduced in the House and that it should become law. Marty has promised such a system should he win the Governor’s race.