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Letter: '5 percent campaign' must keep moving forward

By District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake

Thanks to a recent House floor motion I called, Minnesota’s disabled community and those who care for them were one step closer to receiving a much-needed pay raise.

Thanks to the Minnesota House Democratic majority, that much-needed funding increase now remains very much in doubt.

House Democrats already plan to spend another $500 million on various state government programs but have not committed to a full 5 percent raise for people who have difficulties caring for themselves. It’s clear that those of us who are prioritizing the 5 percent campaign need to act quickly before surplus funds are redirected elsewhere.

My recent maneuver took the “5 percent campaign” legislation — which increases funding for disabled residents and their caregivers by 5 percent — out of committee and brought it to the House floor, meaning it could be debated by the full House at any time. The campaign is necessary.

Long-term care workers and the people they serve have been shortchanged for a number of years as Minnesota struggled to balance the budget. With a $1.2 billion surplus available for the remainder of this budget cycle, the time to act is now. We need to properly fund individuals with disabilities and the generous people who care for them.

However one day after my motion, the House Rules Committee met and refused to allow the ‘5 percent campaign’ bill to receive a full House floor debate, meaning its future status remains in limbo The irony here is that many of the Democrats who killed the bill in the Rules Committee voted for the proposal just one day earlier on the House floor.

The Democrats are playing a disgusting political game with our disabled community and their caregivers, and I won’t stand for it. The 5 percent campaign isn’t going away, and I will continue my fight for it until the last day of session.