Contact Your Legislator
Issues of interest to Merrick and the clients we serve, include:
Adequate funding of DT&H services
When surveyed a few years ago, 80% of Minnesotans acknowledged that we are all better off when we provide the support necessary to help people live to their potential. Investment in day services like those provided by Merrick yield nearly $3 of local economic benefit for every $1 of State funding.
Employment, Pre-vocational Services, and Transition Programming
Encourage funding of vocational and pre-vocational services, development of employment opportunities for and government hiring of people with disabilities, and improve public school transition programs to lead to successful employment outcomes.
Promote efficient transportation solutions for people with disabilities.
Quality Assurance, Appropriate Oversight, and Effective System Reform
Make sure that programs are achieving desired outcomes and that people with disabilities and society are better off for the services having been provided.
The right to vote means a lot to self advocates at Merrick and they have struggled to protect the right for those under guardianship. Let's not create barriers to exercising that right and overwhelm our court system with unnecessary reviews.
Merrick uses the proceeds of charitable gambling to enhance services and purchase equipment beyond what is funded by its government reimbursement. We want to preserve this valuable source of revenue for worthy causes important to local communities.
Representative Abeler, committee members, good morning my name is John Wayne Barker and I am the Executive Director of Merrick, Inc.
After a review of the bill I agree with your focus on client choice and long-term meaningful system reform. But the devil is in the details which are still unclear to me because of the plan to reduce spending by $1.6 billion and I am uncertain how you can get to those savings without making severe cuts to services in the interim. Further, I am concerned that the reforms you seek will not come fast enough to generate the savings called for and will in fact set us back decades in terms of the quality of supports and community integration that we have achieved in Minnesota. It is important to remember that these cuts are being considered because of a budget deficit as the state rebalances its expenses with revenue and not because there is substantiated abuse or excessive use by recipients, their families, or providers. Said another way, the money being spent now is absolutely needed to deliver essential services to the elderly and people with disabilities today. Yet, we have a state budget deficit that must be fixed and your committee is looking for solutions.