Governor Walz’s proposed budget includes a $68 million increase for state-operated treatment facilities, including the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and Forensic Services (Minnesota Security Hospital) in St. Peter. DHS’s treatment programs face a budget shortfall due to rising staff compensation expenses (salaries, insurance, and pensions) and third-party reimbursement rates that do not cover the full cost of care for clients with disabilities. They say without the budget increase, the department will have to scale back or eliminate programs and services.

Commissioner Jodi Harpstead will be testifying about the need for this funding today (Wednesday).