AARP Minnesota commends Governor Walz on the proposed One Minnesota budget that includes measures that will support older adults and their family caregivers to address our state’s rapidly aging demographic. However, AARP is disappointed the Governor’s budget doesn’t provide more Social Security tax relief for Minnesota retirees.
The Governor’s budget recognizes the critical role Minnesota’s 640,000 family caregivers play in caring for their loved ones and delaying expensive nursing home care. Without the option to take paid leave, working caregivers must cut back on their work hours or drop out of the workforce entirely. The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) would allow up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a seriously ill family member or a worker’s own serious health condition. To address the gravity of the workforce shortage crisis the Governor makes needed investments to strengthen the long-term care workforce by increasing both wages and expanding access to critical benefits, including sick leave and access to health insurance.
The positive state budget outlook presents enormous opportunities for Minnesota to be bold and make necessary investments to address the challenges of changing demographics and provide Social Security tax relief
Additionally, community preparedness is key. AARP Minnesota is pleased that the Governor is also calling for the extension of the Age-Friendly Council and invests in critical community grants to ensure that communities are livable for all ages, including older Minnesotans. This council will inform and advise on spending and policies across state agencies such as housing, transportation, and much more and implement community and technical grants that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion.
"The positive state budget outlook presents enormous opportunities for Minnesota to be bold and make necessary investments to address the challenges of changing demographics and provide Social Security tax relief,” said Cathy McLeer, state director of AARP Minnesota. “Unfortunately, the Governor’s budget falls short on tax relief for Social Security beneficiaries. As only one of 12 states that tax these benefits, we are disappointed that the Governor did not fully exempt social security taxes.” Taxing Social Security benefits undermines the purpose of Social Security, which was designed to lift seniors out of poverty – not to fund state government. “This is an issue our members care deeply about and one that they have been vocal about,” shared McLeer. “Social Security is a benefit they have earned and have paid for over a lifetime of work.”
AARP is urging lawmakers to pass and the Governor to sign into law other important policies not in his budget to rein in the high cost of prescription drugs; develop new retirement programs that allow workers to set aside wages on the job for a secure retirement, and Live Well At Home grants to help older seniors not eligible for Medicaid to receive care in their home.
For a full listing of AARP Minnesota’s 2023 legislative priorities, visit https://states.aarp.org/minnesota/aarp-minnesota-2023-legislative-priorities.