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NAMI Minnesota
800 Transfer Road, #31
Saint Paul, MN 55114

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
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Action Alert - Feb. 28, 2015

Use Budget Surplus to Boost Mental Health Services

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) issued the February Forecast, which means they have a new estimate for how much money the state will have for the 2016-17 fiscal years. They estimated that there will be MORE money (or revenues), a 1.5% increase over their November estimates. This additional money is due to more money coming in ($616 million more) and less money being spent ($115 million lower) than previously expected. The total surplus rose to $1.869 billion.

Governor Dayton's current budget spends $42 billion and he said that he would submit what is called a "supplemental budget" the week of March 9 that will increase spending by about $444.2 million to fund additional legislative priorities. This includes universal pre-k for all four- year olds, higher education and transportation and restoring funding for the Mpls Park Board. Governor Dayton said he would set aside $50 million to implement the recommendations of the child protection task force.

NAMI Minnesota would like to see those additional dollars used to fund our mental health system and ensure that the additional funding for mental health that is in the Governor's original budget is passed. Saturday's Star Tribune editorial points to the very fact that "The governor also voiced willingness to spend more in other areas. Dayton's initial proposal was stingy with several other state services that have not yet recovered from recession-era cuts. Assistance for vulnerable people - the frail elderly and the disabled, impoverished and endangered children, and mental illness sufferers - deserves serious consideration."

In order for this to happen, NAMI members need to call the leaders of the house and senate this week. Please make your calls by Thursday. Here is who to call:

Senate
Senate Majority Leader Thomas Bakk at 651-296-8881
Assistant Majority Leader Katie Sieben at 651-297-8060
Finance Committee Chair Dick Cohen at 651-296-5931
Senate Minority Leader David Hann at 651-296-1749
House
Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt at 651-296-5364 or 1-800-710-7642
Majority Leader Joyce Peppin at 651-296-7806
Ways and Means Committee Chair Jim Knoblach at 651-296-6612
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen at 651-296-5375

Your message is simple: I am a NAMI member and I (live with a mental illness, have a family member, work in the field). I am so pleased that our state budget has a bigger surplus than expected. Please use these dollars to increase funding to our mental health system.

Making all these calls will take less than 10 minutes. Do you have ten minutes to spare to help improve the mental health system? If you only have 5 minutes, please focus on the House members. Got an extra minute? Call your own state senator and representative and tell him or her the same thing. Your voice matters! Make sure it's heard!