As you probably have heard by now, the state House formally rejected the Senate’s two-year budget proposal on Tuesday so the formal negotiations on a final budget plan to get to Gov. Cooper will now begin in earnest. It is anticipated that a conference committee will be named in the next few days for the negotiations, however, it is widely viewed that legislative leaders will play the key role in deciding what will be in the final budget. We shared with you last week that, for the most part, the House budget contains significant more funding for aging related issues than the Senate proposal. FYI, copied below is the comparison of the proposed House and Senate funding for key aging programs and services. A copy of this is also attached in the event the comparison below does not line-up properly when e-mailed. The most favorable funding for each issue, is emboldened.
Comparison of House and Senate Budget Plans
SFY 2019-20 SFY 2020-21
Home and Community Care Block Grant
House $4,469,549 $4,469.549
Senate $969,549 $969,549
Adult Protective Services
House $893,041 (SSBG fed.) $893,041 (SSBG fed.)
Senate $457,041 (SSBG fed.) $457,041 (SSBG fed.)
Senior Tar Heel Legislature
House $12,000 $12,000
Senate none none
Food and Nutrition Outreach for Medicaid/Medicare Dual Eligibles
House $420,000 $420,000
Senate $270,000 $270,000
Special Assistance Personal Needs Allowance
House $2,250,000 $3,000,000
(increases to $70/month/individual)
Senate $1,125,000 $1,500,000
(increases to $58/month/individual)
Temporary Assistance for Facilities that Serve Special Assistance Recipients (in adult care homes)
House $3,300,000 $3,300,000
(based on $34/month/recipient)
Senate $3,300,000 $7,000,000
(increases $34/month to $70/month in second year)
North Carolina Senior Games
House (Special provision specifies that of the competitive grant
funds available to DHHS, $232,757 each year of the 2019- 20 biennium is allocated to Senior Games
Senate No special provision pertaining to funding for Senior Games
House $250,000 $250,000
Senate $250,000 none
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for State and Teacher Retirees
House none 1.0% one-time supplement
Senate none none
It is important that legislators hear from aging advocates this week and next week (the sooner the better) about the importance of funding for aging services. We have listed at the end of this e-mail the names, phone number and e-mail address for key legislators we believe it is important to contact. The overall message to legislators is simple and is as follows:
"There is a critical need to better address the needs of older adults in our state. We ask that the budget have significant funding for ________." (To be followed by a few details on specific requests).
As you know, the two priorities of the Coalition on Aging which are in contention in the budget are state support for the Home and Community Care Block Grant and the amount of federal Social Services Block Grant funds to be directed to adult protective services. Specific talking points for these two issues are:
Home and Community Care Block Grant: "The Home and Community Care Block Grant supports important service for older adults like home delivered meals and in-home aide assistance to help keep them in their homes. There are 11,000 people on the waiting list for these services across the state. We request that the $4.69 million in funding proposed in the House budget be included in the final budget proposal."
Adult Protective Services: "There are over 30,000 cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older North Carolinians reported each year to county departments of social services. Counties do not have the staff to adequately handle this number of cases. The House budget plan proposes that $893,000 in federal Social Services Block Grant funds be earmarked to increase the number of Adult Protective Service workers in counties. We ask that funding in this amount be directed to counties."
If you choose to call the legislators, ask to speak to them directly. If the legislative assistants ask you to leave a message, be very specific about what yours ask is. If you happen to be the constituent of a legislator, please make sure you relay that. It also does not hurt to call your own legislator and ask for their support. If he/she is not on the conference committee or in a position of leadership, ask if he/she can talk with key leadership, including the legislators listed below, to relay their support for our issues.
Key legislators we suggest you contact are as follows:
Rep. Donnie Lambeth - 919-733-5747 and Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net
Rep. Jason Saine - 919-733-5782 and Jason.Saine@ncleg.net
Rep. Greg Murphy - 919-733-5757 and Gregory.Murphy@ncleg.net
Rep. Josh Dobson - 919-733-5862 and Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net (note: He is a major sponsor of legislation for our priorities. Thank him for all he has done and will do in the budget negotiations).
Rep. William Brisson - 919-733-5772 and William.Brisson@ncleg.net
Rep. Donna White - 919-733-5605 and Donna.White@ncleg.net (note: She is a major sponsor of legislation for our priorities. Thank her for all she has done and will do in the budget negotiations).
Rep. Larry Potts - 919-715-0873 and Larry.Potts@ncleg.net
Sen. Harry Brown - (919) 715-3034 and Harry.Brown@ncleg.net
Sen. Ralph Hise - (919) 733-3460 and Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net
Sen. Joyce Krawiec - (919) 733-7850 and Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net
Sen. Dan Bishop - (919) 733-5655 and Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net
As you can imagine, these key legislators will be hearing from many many groups advocating for their issues. Therefore, that is even more reason why we need to make sure our voice is heard. Hopefully your schedule will allow you to contact everyone on the list above. If you run short of time, we recommend that you contact the first two or three legislator on both the House and Senate list.
Thank you for all you can do to help get our message to legislators. There is the opportunity for significant funding for aging issues in this year's budget, but our best efforts are needed if this possibility has a chance of becoming a reality.
Should you have questions or need additional information, please contact me. Take care.
Post Courtesy of Mary Bethel
NC Coalition on Aging