Minnesota’s updated economic forecast was released today and the shocking news was…not much.

It turns out the $1.2 billion deficit has diminished somewhat to $994 million for the remainder of the FY2010-11 biennium.  This is due in large part to lower spending in the HHS budget, including $51 million less in continuing care.  $24 million of the $51 million is lower care center spending.   Minnesota also received an $83 million refund from the federal government for money related to HHS spending.

Unfortunately things are looking worse for next year.  The next biennium sees a $400 million increase in the deficit to $5.8 billion.

So, it is probably obvious to say that things will only get more interesting at the legislature.  Even though the economy is in a slow recovery, the state’s  budget is in tough shape and will be for awhile.  The governor’s supplemental budget proposal seeks to balance the remainder of the 2010-11 fiscal biennium.  However,  this is his last legislative session, and there is no incentive for him to offer solutions to the ongoing deficit.  And all 201 legislative seats are up for election — meaning quite a bit of politicking is going on around the budget.  Add to the mix a few legislators who are running for governor, and it is difficult to see how any tough solutions for addressing the structural deficit are viable.

The coming weeks will be a critical time for advocacy at the capitol, as legislators will soon begin putting together their budget proposals.  Make sure to stay connected to Aging Services advocacy at our legislative message website and our Long-Term Care Imperative Rolling Grassroots Toolkit site.

And of course, thank you for everything you do!