GOP Bill Would Cut Meals On Wheels Programs

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A minor spending cut in a sprawling Senate health and welfare bill could threaten home-delivered meals for thousands of poor senior citizens and result in lost federal dollars.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday that a bill from Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, would cut in half projected state spending on senior nutrition program grants to save $2.68 million. The reduction would cost Minnesota another $1.9 million in federal money because it would put state spending on the programs below a required level.

The grants help feed 70,000 seniors through Meals on Wheels programs and group dining in large senior housing facilities.

Jean Wood, who heads the Aging and Adults Services Division at the state Human Services Department, said the combined cuts would reduce overall funding for senior nutrition by a quarter. She estimated that 3,700 people would lose home-delivered meals if the cut were applied only to that service.

The health and welfare bill designed to cut state spending by $1.6 billion over two years is expected to get a vote in the Senate this week as GOP majorities push to pass a plan to erase a $5 billion deficit.

“We’re looking to reduce state spending in the largest area of state spending, which is growing out of control,” Hann said. “None of these are going to be easy.”

Still, Republican lawmakers are nowhere near a budget deal with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, so it’s unclear which proposals are likely to become law. Dayton originally proposed cutting about $800 million from health and welfare programs, but scaled back some of his cuts when the budget outlook improved earlier this month.

Advocates said they hope Dayton will veto the Senate health and welfare bill.

“When we’re working to prepare for a doubling of the senior population in the next 20 years, this is the wrong direction to be going,” said Patrick Rowan, who heads Metro Meals on Wheels in the Twin Cities.


(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Middle Class and fading...

    Now THAT’s compassionate conservatism.

    • w

      Meals on Wheels should be 100% privately funded!

    • Read the Bill

      Be aware that WCCO is not reporting this correctly or fair!You should read the Bill that has been proposed.

      • Meals on Wheels

        Revenue and other support:
        Contributions. $ 4,843,307
        Government Grants. 485,263
        Dues. 114,912
        Conference. 272,310
        Other revenue. 368,519
        Total unrestricted revenues and other support: . 6,084,311
        Program Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,801,245
        Management and general . 584,796
        Fundraising. 285,456
        Total Expenses: . 3,671,497
        CHANGE IN NET ASSETS. 2,412,814
        NET ASSETS AT END OF YEAR . $ 4,179,377

    • TJ

      There shouldn’t be compassion in government.

      compassion = bias
      bias = inefficient
      inefficient = wasted money

      If this is a program that you as an individual want to support, PLEASE be my guest, but lets make those decisions by choice, not by the forced hand of the government. There is only one true monopoly in the US, and that’s government, the last thing we should have is a compassionate government.

      • Derrick

        We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

        The preamble to the constitution for those of you who don’t recognize it. Promote the general welfare. Feed em if they need it, don’t if they don’t.

        Government is not aliens, it is the people of this country. Imperfect.

        @ TJ From the Oxford dictionary Compassion sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others:the victims should be treated with compassion
        But I have a word for you

        thinking only of oneself, without regard for the feelings or desires of others ; self-centered:their egocentric tendency to think of themselves as invulnerable

        • An old teacher

          Dear Derrick-

          You are way out of line here Derrick. If you had studied, read and taught history as I did for 35 years, it was NEVER the intention of our Founding Fathers to have the government feed people-NEVER!

        • TJ

          The good and the bad of the constitution is that there is a lot of interpretation. I personally can’t see how promoting general welfare could be used as a defense for redistributing tax money. I see promoting general welfare as enabling people to earn a living and succeed and ensuring that government doesn’t impede on that freedom in an essence the exact opposite of your statement.

  • flanders

    Ya you cant just stop feeding people. I understand the money has to start coming from some where but you cant stop feeding people.

  • Sarah Miller

    This coincides with the CHW’S Training

  • Chuck

    Just remember, that is what you voted for. What did you expect the Rep’s to do? Raise thier taxes, cut their services, or what??

    • gauffsa

      Exactly! People crab, but they are only reaping what they’ve sown!

      Unless you are rich, you are STUPID for voting Republican. When are you people going to wake up and realize you are just being thrown a couple buzz words (“no more taxes”–yeah, for the rich…; “decrease spending”–sure, who cares about helping anyone? How about BETTER spending???), used and manipulated to further rhetoric that in the end, only benefits the rich?

      Sure there are people who abuse the system. Can you name one institution, policy, or even idea that someone hasn’t abused in some way? Does that remove the legitimate needs that still exist? Should those who have genuine need be denied because of a crooked few? Of course not!

      Yes, yes, the GOP tends to stand for Pro Life (which is the reason many others may vote along the conservative line). Well, wake up, people and smell the insincerity!!! They claim, “Life is sacred,” but is this seriously how they celebrate it? Cut help to those who, for whatever reason, have need? Make no sacrifices (like higher taxes for those who CAN afford it?) or allocate money where it will benefit the common good (like education) instead of THEIR OWN good directly?

      I am not saying the GOP has never had any good ideas or that they are all bad people. What I AM saying is that we can all talk until we’re blue, but in the end, action speaks volumes we all hear, and I beg of people to open their eyes and really SEE what’s happening before it’s too late.

      And when they reap what they blindly sow, LEARN from it.

      • TJ

        Unless you are rich, you are STUPID for voting Republican.

        Why is that? Are you not capable or willing to stand up and make a living for yourself, rather you need the DFL to redistribute wealth. The only “fair” government is one that doesn’t provide preferential treatment one class or another. I don’t agree across the board with the GOP, but I would much rather have my self worth and hard work measured in a fair market than have my fate determined by a bureaucrat redistributing the wealth.

        I’m happy to give my time and my money to support the less fortunate, but I want to do it based on the organization and the help it provides, NOT based on a generic quota set by the government.

        I am no rich, voted GOP and stand by it as the correct thing to do, and let me state this.

        Unless you are lazy, you are likely voting for a DEMOCRAT.

  • Trudy

    Time for them to grow a garden! Seriously. You’re adults, not babies.

    • Walker

      Trudy Cold heartless cruel and ignorant. Should we have to institutionalize people for the simple fact they are to disabled to cook?

      • Walker

        The other half of the reason for meals on wheels is by providing proper nutrition it helps keep them from having to go back to the hospital..

      • Trudy

        Don’t be ridiculous. If they can shower and bathe themselves. They can bathe a pot of noodles and eat it.

        • Earl

          From my experience those that get meals on wheels are getting other services, too.

        • Judy

          WOW! Do you have a parent that uses these services? If so, youd know the majority of these elderly folks CANT afford groceries, most are disabled and cant stand for periods of time required to prepare a meal then the cleanup. I HOPE the day never comes you need help!

    • Bob

      You are an idiot.

    • Trudy, Seriously?

      Your are a dimwit, yeah most 70-90 year olds have the capacity & land to grow a garden……people like you just don’t get it…..can’t wait till you get old, hope the republicants are in charge at that time……

      • TJ

        Me to, then I can save for retirement and not worry about the DFL taxing and spending every dime of my money.

    • getridofthemall

      Well you know my sister would love to grow a garden that means she has mobility and she would not need to use a wheelchair or a cane, she would be able to do a lot more than grow a garden for herself. Unfourntely she is handicap and has been since she was 17 because of a stroke they still don’t know why she had it so young. So you grow a garden and donate what you grow and god help you if you ever need the help because what goes around comes around.

  • Chuck

    Trudy: So how well would your 94 year old dad do with a garden???? This is not about welfare people, this is about the elderly. Maybe we should all take our parents into our houses instead. I guess I would sooner pay a bit more in taxes.

    • Trudy

      Agreed. Hear Chuck out. Take in your parents and care for them. That’s the way it should be. I will do the same and I expect my children to do the same.

      • gauffsa

        Trudy, I feel sorry for your kids. Your sense of entitlement and arrogance is alarming. One should take care of their parents, but one should also take care of one another, our society as a whole.

        Remember, EVERY person is someone’s child, and most likely someone’s parent. Regardless of why those people don’t have someone else to care for them, the need does not disappear.

        May God grant you the experience of need and the wisdom to finally develop compassion.

        • Southern MN Mom

          Dear Gauffsa-

          You are just another liberal who thinks he or she has more intelligence and more compassion than anyone else.

          May God grant you a brain!

  • Bob

    Instead of Surf n Truf they now have to settle for hamberger helper…join the club

    • Pat R

      Have you actually seen what these people eat??? I can tell you it is not Surf and Turf like you and your republican flunkies eat on a regular basis. Most of them are lucky to get soups, salads or sandwiches. These meals are designed to give the person exactly enough fuel to survive on. People like you should have to eat what these people do and then you might learn what life is really about. You republicans disgust me. Republicans = GREED and LIARS.

      • Suggs

        I eat ramen and saltines daily. They do eat better than I do.

      • Southern MN Mom

        Pat- You are just another goofball of a socialist who thinks the primary job of government is to take care of anyone and everyone. Check out socialism around the world-It is dead or dying for a reason. Socialism does not work. It destroys self esteem and a persons work ethic. It is not the job of government to take care of you!

        You do not disgust me Pat, rather I feel sorry for you-

    • Orville

      I see ignorance about the program did not prevent you from commenting .Proof for education cutbacks as math seems to be eluding you. To cut in half to 2.68 million means the program was funded with 5.36 million, add 1.9 mill from the feds and divide by 70000 and you get $100 per person for the year.. Since the national organization takes in donations, it would be higher. Meals on wheels delivers 5 days a week, and I think leaves cold food for the weekend
      At 2 bucks a week, that is not surf and turf, it is hamburger helper with a few vegetables and fruit.

  • Matt H.

    We’re feeding 70,000 people for $65/year… At least we’re not overpaying (although article lacks details like is this three meals a day, one meal a day, two meals a week or what??) Apart from the fact that we don’t have any requirement to provide this service, it does seem to be well run.

  • Andy

    @chuck – Just imagine the tax breaks you would get if you took your parents in, not to mention their Social Security. Sounds like a win – win to me…Mom, Dad want to move in?

  • Ted

    Since when do we consider people who collect meals from the government middle class? If they were middle class they would have to provide their own meals.

    • tiredandretired

      They WERE middle class, until our politicians allowed companies and banks to hijack their retirement funds. GOP = Gestapo Oppressing the People

      • An Old Teacher

        Dear tired and retired-

        You forgot to mention George Bush! ALWAYS, ALWAYS blame whatever you are unhappy with on big business, the GOP AND George Bush.

        • Alan

          You give blame where blame is due. We can blame the Democrats for spending a little to much, we can blame the Republicans for not being smart enough to figure out how to run the Democratic programs efficiently. We can blame all of them for not working together. We can blame most everyone for being greedy.

  • Jon M

    How about voluntary tax hikes for social spending? All those screaming the loudest about cuts in social program spending can stand in the very short line of people wanting to pay more taxes. It’s always easy to demand that others pay more, but liberals always exempt themselves. It’s interesting that those who scream the loudest, are the least willing to give personally.

    • informed

      How about volutary taxes for parks i dont use, or public schools that i dont have any kids in or art programs that i dont go to. Or better yet how about pay for use instead

    • Derrick

      The Republicans have been screaming the loudest, as actions speak louder than words. Look at where and how the Republicans have thus far proposed to cut the budget

      1. Mass transit
      2. Special ed and integration
      3. LGA cuts only to Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth (not the rest of the state)
      4. Department of human rights
      5. Meals on wheels

      All directly blasting at those that might support Democrats. Nothing across the board for cuts.

      • IWonderIF

        Very good post… They talk about cutting spending but look at what they are targeting.. Meals on wheels.. Really?!?.. C’mon!

  • informed

    God judges a government on how well it treats its poor and needy., and to cut the elederly off from food is just palain wrong. Granted there are people who abuse the system, but I doubt that an 80 year old feeble and disabled person, who more than likely worked all their life, paid social security. survived the depression and raised their children, are not taking advantage of the so called system. Shame on us for not taking care of our elderly. We could learn a lot from the Japanese. Even in the midst of a catrastophe they make sure that their elderly are taken care of.

  • James

    I’ve delivered meals on wheels for about 6 months out of good will. What I saw was disgusting. People who received meals on wheels didn’t always need the food. Many were just outright slobs. One lady was just fat and couldn’t get out of her chair to come to the door, but didn’t appear to have a nutrition problem (apparently). Others were old and sympathetic because they couldn’t move around so much and it may have been more difficult for them to cook, but I would ask what they do for their other 2 meals per day. Another lady had a home health aid who cooked her lunch, so the meals on wheels always went in the fridge in place of the lady’s casserole that the PCA put in the oven for her. One man had Mc Donalds and KFC take-out bags all over his kitchen for example, every time I’d do a drop off.

    These are all scenarios that represent the type of waste in this program. Sure it makes sense to be compassionate, but compassion is in the eyes of the reader. While the recipients might be eternally grateful that they’re getting a free meal delivered to their doorsteps, while it makes everyone in the program feel warm and fuzzy, I can tell you there is a lot of waste in this program and it deserves to be wrung out like a dirty rag.

    My suggestion, kill the MOW program entirely. Bring back another food service program through community private sector involvement, possibly allow for a non-profit to step in and fund it. They can appeal to the most needy and will certainly put a better filter in place to keep the beggars out (for a lack of a better term).

    Something to consider. I think it’s worth the $2.68 million save.

    • James

      Here’s the other aspect of the problem we’re breeding. When you raise the requirements for who qualifies for these programs, how many recipients will try to meet the requirements by not working and staying home, or by trying to represent more poverty than trying to better themselves. We’re breeding a system of dependents who are becoming more and more incapable of caring for themselves. How hard will they have to work to equal what they get from that welfare check?

      One other note, the people I delivered meals on wheels for were 30-40 years of age. There was one older man who was in his 60’s, all were completely able bodied (except for the fatter slob who didn’t want to move). My point here is that this media story represents no factual demographics that points to seniors on the program, or disabled on the program, just that there are “people” on the program. We all assume these are elderly people who can’t care for themselves at all, are slaves to the state because of no choice of their own, and we are “responsible” for their health and welfare out of good citizenship. My follow-up suggestion would be to be virtuous on your own dime Minnesota, not mine at the end of a gun. I’ll be virtuous where I see fit, and I know a lot of other people who will be as well.

      • Earl

        The people I sent home from the hospital that received meals on wheels sure looked as though they could use the help. Like the school lunch program, it is hard to feed 100’s at once.. The program itself is supposed to be for seniors Their website. The intent is good, so why not legislate better controls on service. Like if receiving home care > so many hours you don’t qualify. Th Republicans are opting to be political rather than practical(see Derrick’s post)

    • informed

      Did you ask the man where the food bags from Mcdonalds and KFC came from. Maybe someone else who cared about this person took the time to give him some food. Maybe you assume too much by what you see and dont take into consideration what really might be going on. Glad you dont volunteer for the program anymore, because when you go out to help the needy, you should be prepared for anything and not be judgemental about what you come across and think you know the whole story. Maybe the overweight woman had a medical condition with her liver that made her retain water. Maybe the casserole was supposed to lat a week.

      • James

        Yeah maybe. Maybe that big screen TV in the corner was a gift from a friend. maybe the cable TV the man with the KFC and Mc Donalds was provided by the free apartment.

        Look, i’m not being judgmental, no more than you’re judging that what i’m saying is any more or less correct.

        The real argument shouldn’t be if they’re deserving of assistance, who am I to judge, who are we, who are you? The real argument should be that this is NOT a function of government. government does not exist to provide for the welfare of its citizens, it’s to keep them free and protect them from fraud or abuse. This MOW program is much better suited for the private sector and personal donations.

        I know the jargon isn’t popular, but this is simple wealth redistribution. If you really want a redistribution of wealth program, then get a majority of the government to support raising taxes and spending more money on social programs. What you’ll find though, is that a majority of the citizens of this state are BROKE and don’t support these warm and fuzzy programs at the expense of themselves and their neighbors who are also BROKE. The majority consensus in the legislature is to slow spending and reduce taxes as represented by the 2010 vote and prior. Not sure what to tell you mr informed, other than be cautious about where you get your news.

    • Dave

      Funny how you want to turn it over to non-profit organizations and private sector organizations. Yet we don’t have those organizations stepping up to the plate now when there are all these families going hungry. I’m not saying that MOW is perfect, nor is it exempt of those taking advantage of the program, but we need to find ways to trim the budget fairly.

      I say whatever the largest percentage cut made to a particular program, the legislation must make that same cut to their own salaries and budget. If they are taking the same cuts as everyone else then I don’t really care who gets budget cuts, but the truth of the situation is they are so willing to cut programs they would never use, but are willing to give more tax breaks to big businesses because they think it is a burden on their multi-billion dollar profits.

      • James

        Sounds like we need more community organizing.

  • U getting ready to starve gramps ???

    Hot damnkit ya just gotta love the GOP now ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    they’d kill off their own family if it didn’t mean the loss of their inheritance. LMAO

    • an old Teacher

      Dear U-

      You forgot to blame George Bush! As a good socialist/Democrat always blame the GOP AND George Bush for everything!

      When I was a young man my grandfather told me this: “If you have a heart you vote Democrat. If you have a brain you vote Republican.” My “gramps” was an incredible man who never would allow his family, his neighbor or himself to starve. It is not the job of government to feed people.

      • Matt

        Thank you, that is exactly the correct answer. Government and society are two different things, help your neighbor and they will help you, give extra when you can.

        Don’t mandate it as a law.

      • helper

        Your ‘gramps’ was a moron, hope he’s rottin in hell as its the same place your going… Don’t worry, you will both be together1

  • Linda

    I’m glad it’s going. My mother was put on this, without my permission, and she paid money every month to this group and she was on a fixed income. I made them stop it mainly because she wouldn’t eat the food they delivered. She constantly asked them to not put mounds of think unlhealthy gravey on her potatoes and they wouldn’t adhire to her requests. He was borderline diabetic, had trouble chewing and they loaded her up on thinkc, gravey covered meats, very salty foods. I don’t know why theire getting supplemented from the government when they charge the seniors for the food and most pay it from their medicade.

    • Fred

      If your mother is her own decision maker then it was within the duties to put her on meals on wheels. If she is in your coustedy and malnourished then they could prosecute you for negligence.

      • Gants wonder about Linda

        sssssh Fred – do not state the obvious. ;-)
        I have my Mom here, my in-laws will be moving in come June. It’s going to be hard but …. we get to help them out and even assist in diets they eat. sssssssssssssssh. Must not let Linda know that is what the children should do if they need help …… ssssssh

  • James

    BREAKING NEWS! “We are our brother’s keeper” does not apply to Republicans.

  • BOB J.


  • Lisa Gonyea

    What do all you naysayers want cut…we have so much in the budget…and more than that in programs. I know most “cuts” are in actuality cutting increases. I can’t say if Meels on Wheels was one of those. Where do we cut?

  • gauffsa

    I cannot believe how selfish and heartless the GOP is. Yes, money has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere should be from those who actually HAVE it.

    “Should we (the rich) be ‘punished’ for being successful?” No, of course not. However, keep in mind that these are the very people who got where they were (and stay there) upon the backs of those they exploit (employees they pay minimum wage and vote for policies which ensure those employees carry the relative brunt of the taxation). So… “punish,” no. “Give *back* to those and the society that supports you?” YES.

    The GOP consistently strives to line its own pockets at the detriment of everyone else. Cutting programs to educate our children, feed our hungry, and fund programs that help the poor will only ensure further desperation, poverty, and unrest. I’d like to think that they will learn when they’re buried by their own greed. However, the housing market is just the beginning…and look how well they’re processing that lesson!

    Just remember, the “top” of the pyramid still needs a strong foundation to stand. Pay it no heed, keep no maintenance (and yes, that means allocating YOUR funds), and you WILL come tumbling down.

  • Lisa Gonyea

    look at what may be considered the top…like 150.00…a teacher and a cop combined…having a couple of kids to send to college..etc. they would pay more, and if money was the answer, we should have the smartest kids in the world with our per capita spending. All of us in the GOP are not wealthy…just believe in managing our money…all 30K of it!

  • mac

    they ran on cutting goverment spending…first hann how about u politician that are maken a liven off the tax payer’s take a 50 % cut in pay…..u guy’s have made a career out of these goverment postions which was never the intent of goverment operation’s…back in the early goverment they made about 90 dollars a year to be a goverment official….u guys ran on cutting…but not your pay in goverment…i have not hear one cut to the function of goverment…lol

    • Habla Espanol?

      Is this English? I don’t recognize the language.

  • hqr

    Once again the GOP is only thinking of their pocket book. Lincoln is rolling over in his grave. Heartless, selfish and totally disgusting party.

  • Jon

    What does the GOP say you should do if you cannot get a job and have lost jobless benefits? I would like to know what their idea for those people is.

    • An Old Teacher

      Dear Jon-

      Don’t you think 3 years of unemployment checks is enough? At some point people have to get off of their couch and take responsibility for themselves. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU, not your government.

      • giil g

        where do you think half of your retirement check is coming from the gov. by way matching funds you put in to retirement, old teachers never go away they just like GOP they have no class

    • Germany is back

      Eat one another, preferably a DFL’er I imagine. Before you do make sure you remove all jewelry, gold fillings, trash their personal effects too and give all to the GOP Party. You will be assisting us in fulfilling our mission. Heil Bachmann

  • Recall

    Recall GOP (Lawmakers)

  • James

    So are you going to force the “rich” to stay in Minnesota? What incentives will you provide for job creators? I know this, i’m not rich but if you attack my pocket book, i’ll simply move. I have no fundamental ties to minnesota. my family and friends can visit often. Plenty of states such as south dakota agrees that profits are fundamental to jobs and salaries. I’m not sure why you folks seem to think that if a corporation cannot profit, that it will benefit any worker or family situation.

    • Good riddance

      See ya! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    • @James

      You just babbling BS James or just not very bright? Try reading facts, not rhetoric, and look at the AGI tax tables. Bury your income if it’s excessive – use your head for Gawds sake !
      I’m making more $$$ than ever, dates back to late 1968 when I entered the market. I pay less, far far less in taxes today as a percentage of my groos income than I ever have. We will be selling our home(s) over the next 5-6 years. More wonderful cap[ital gains that will escape taxation.
      Life is great – dig you head out of the sand, think for yourself rather than let that party of Hate Mongers. Think – use the one gift that God gave everyone (one hopes) called a brain. Even you will succeed James depsite your best effort at not. ;-)

      • James

        Hey no worries, I found your name next to that voluntary “I’d like to pay more taxes than anyone else in this state” sign-up sheet. What’s your donation now? (Sorry, NPR doesn’t count)

      • An Old Teacher

        Dear @James-

        Apparently your just another socialist convinced of your own mental superiority. You must be a silver spooner with guilt about all you were given in life if you truly believe the babble you spout. Tell me, have you ever really had to work for anything in your life?

        My grandfather told me nearly 50 years ago, “If you have a heart you vote Democrat, but if you have a brain you vote Republican.” If your brain is really as big as you apparently think it is, there is still hope for you. Who knows, you may come out of your liberal stupor and vote GOP someday!

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