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Friday, June 24, 2011

Personal Story: The Impact of Previous Years' PCA Service Cuts (Jim Carlisle)

To Whomever Has The Power:

Living independently would be impossible for my wife, Claudia, and I without the help of the Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) who allow us to stay in our own home and be a part of the taxpaying community. This is why it is so frustrating to hear about possible additional cuts in PCA rates and hours.

Many legislators say that they will not raise taxes. Yet, in 2009 they reduced the rate of PCA Services by 2.75% and in 2010 there were similar cuts. And now this year the State is threatening to make a third reduction in PCA Services. In reality, this is equivalent to more than a 6% GROSS REVENUE tax on PCA providers. Income taxes are usually imposed on NET PROFIT. If the State would put a 6% gross revenue tax on all industries in Minnesota, three things would happen:

  1. The State hoppers would be overflowing.
  2. Most State industries would be bankrupt.
  3. Many legislators wouldn’t be re-elected.

Do you realize that a 6% cut in gross revenue equates to a 70% reduction in an already low net margin? On top of this, the Department of Human Services has implemented many new required regulations on PCA Services that take additional administration staff to achieve compliance. Thus, the State Legislature is asking for much more work for much less pay in the PCA Industry that cares for:

  1. Some of the most vulnerable Minnesota Citizens in the State.
  2. Minnesota Citizens who must live below poverty income levels to receive PCA and medical services.
  3. Minnesota citizens who need reliable quality care by reasonably paid care givers.

PCA care givers are among the lowest paid employees in Minnesota and are expected to be reliable, responsible and honest, working independently in private homes. They also must be intelligent enough to deal with complex physical and mental disorders along with keeping track of hours worked, employment limitations, and timesheet requirements to satisfy the State Auditors. State reimbursement rates and county care assessments dictate that all this must be done with no morning and afternoon breaks, no sick pay, no vacation pay, and no other fringe benefits. And now these dedicated care givers will have to take an hourly wage reduction if the State slashes reimbursement rates further.

The thousands of PCAs employed in Minnesota are helping to drive the economy by spending their entire meager wages within the State and, therefore, should not be penalized with wage cuts. Minnesotans, who probably spend some earnings on yearly out-of-state vacations, should be able to make ample (federally tax deductible) contributions to protect the State’s vulnerable citizens with decently compensated care givers. Please put your full support behind this critical need for quality PCA services.

Thank you,
Jim Carlisle
Public Accountant

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