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Editorial: Share the pain

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opinion Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota, visited the Daily Globe last week alongside Arlan G. Swanson, the administrator at Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Fulda. While speaking about how cuts to long-term care -- including a reduction in state-regulated rates -- would likely by devastating for care facilities across Minnesota, they offered a specific plea: If cuts are going to be made, they should be made to as many entities as possible. This would ease the pain the long-term care providers would feel, they argue, as well as any other number of those receiving state funds.

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We agree with Cullen and Swanson whole-heartedly. Given the long-term care example, meddling with rates would not only result in less state money coming in, but diminish federal matching money as well. That could well be a recipe for additional door-shutting of long-term care facilities -- a sector that has already suffered 54 closures since 2000, according to Cullen. Swanson said Maple Lawn employs 106 people; those jobs would be awfully difficult to replace in a community of Fulda's size.

The argument of state entities sharing the pain has been made earlier in this legislative session. When staff members of Client Community Services Inc., Habilitative Services Inc., and New Dawn Inc. visited the Daily Globe Feb. 16, for instance, they decried how heavily a Gov. Tim Pawlenty budget proposal leaned on health and human services as a source of cuts.

And, much more recently, came a report Thursday that while veterans programs will receive 3 percent more money in a House bill and military programs 7.7 percent more funds, the state agriculture budget would be axed by 8.3 percent. How is this equitable?

We realize that a balanced budget is not as easy is cutting everyone the same amount. But we feel the process should be headed more in that direction than it appears to be now.

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