Chippewa Enterprises, a daycare program serving people with disabilities in Montevideo, is facing a budget crisis.

Chippewa Enterprises, a daycare program serving people with disabilities in Montevideo, is facing a budget crisis. A proposed 7 percent cut to funding will put services at risk, creating further strain on the non-profit business.

Chippewa Enterprises relies on state and federal funds to operate, and they are struggling to hire and retaining workers as the private sector puts pressure on staff recruitment and retention.

Gwen Bowler, director of Chippewa Enterprises said, “This cut would have a devastating effect. For a non-profit, a 7 percent cut is huge.”

Chippewa Enterprises serves 37 clients with varying degrees of special needs. “It is going to be difficult to sustain quality programs for our clients if these cuts are allowed to be put in place,” said Bowler.

Bowler cited a workforce shortage as part of the problem. She said, “This cut would severely cut into staffing and programs. As it is, we can’t pay our workers a living wage, and we can’t keep up with current wages. This makes it harder to hire staff,” she added.

Concerned that the State of Minnesota is placing further stress on a complex disability service system that has left Chippewa Enterprises in Montevideo and other providers struggling for years, the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) is hoping that the state legislature will correct the funding cut.

“All we are looking for is for some sense of long term stability,” said Mike Burke, president of MOHR.  “Stability in a system that will allow us to pay our staff competitive wages, which ultimately helps thousands of people with disabilities across the state who rely on our services for their quality of life.” Bills have been authored in the Minnesota Legislature to correct the problem.

“The cuts are a direct threat to service providers, and the cuts involve complex formulas that determine rates paid to disability service providers which are tied to an inflationary factor and funding agreements with the federal government,” he said.  

A House bill led by Rep. Joe Schomacker and Senate bill authored by Sen. Paul Utke would alleviate the problem, which, if left unaddressed, could mean damaging cuts that are permanent.

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