Legislative Update from the Coalition on Aging
Helayne and the Elder Law and Life Care Planning Center team would like to pass along this update from the Coalition on Aging. Please be aware of steps the Coalition on Aging is taking.
From the Coalition on Aging:
As you are aware, the Governor vetoed the budget bill sent to him by the General Assembly and is currently working on a proposed budget to send back to the legislature. On June 30, we sent the following communication to the Governor by way of his e-mail communication portal with copies to Lee Lilley, his Director of Legislative Affairs, and top officials in the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services.
June 30, 2019
Dear Governor Cooper:
We are writing to you on behalf of the NC Coalition on Aging. The Coalition is a membership organization of over 70 agencies/organizations as well as supporting individuals who represent consumers, providers, and advocates for seniors. All our members come together to help give voice to issues that affect older adults in our state.
It is our understanding that you will be proposing a budget which will be sent to legislative leaders in the next few days. As you prepare your budget, our agency/organization members listed at the end of this communication ask that you include funding for programs and services that impact older North Carolinians in your plan. The last 10 to 12 years have been very lean years for adding additional state funding to address aging issues, even as our state’s older population continues to grow. We believe that with the current revenue picture the time is right to put significant resources into tackling critical challenges and needs facing older adults.
We are providing in a document that is being sent to Lee Lilley, your Director of Legislative Affairs, a list of the funding for aging related programs and services that was in the Appropriations Act (HB 966) sent to you by the legislature. We are pleased to see that many key needs of older adults are addressed in HB 966, including two top priorities of the Coalition – support for the Home and Community Care Block Grant and for increasing the number of Adult Protective Service workers in local departments of social services.
There is $3.6 million the first year and $5.76 million the second year of the biennium for the Block Grant which provides services to help keep older adults in their homes and supports their family caregivers. Also, $893,041 is directed each year of the biennium for additional Adult Protective Service workers. Like you, we are disappointed that the budget does not include funding for closing the health insurance coverage gap which is also a priority issue for the Coalition.
As you prepare your budget proposal, we ask that the needs of older North Carolinians are considered and that funding, at least at the level approved by the General Assembly, be included in your plan. We thank you for your service and hold you in our thoughts as you tackle the many challenges that arise in leading our state.
Tracy Colvard, Chair of the Board of Directors
NC Coalition on Aging
The Coalition on Aging received an immediate response back from Mr. Lilley that same afternoon thanking the Coalition for the letter and the listing of funding for aging related programs and services in the budget bill. He also said that the request from us would be included in the documents for consideration as they go through the budget process.
"Hopefully, we will hear this week about the Governor's proposal. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the deliberations between his office and the General Assembly budget leaders will result in a positive outcome for funding for aging issues." - The Coalition on Aging