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Legislative task force proposed to examine long-term aging costs

According to the state demographer, more than 1 million Minnesotans will be at least age 65 next year. By 2030, that number is expected to be around 1.25 million.

And per the Board on Aging, “While the largest concentration of those 65+ are in the seven-county metro area, the highest percentage of older adults live in Greater Minnesota. This demographic shift presents opportunities and challenges as decision-makers consider the financial security, housing, transportation, health care, employment, and social service needs of this population.”

Sponsored by Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth), HF4036 would establish an eight-member Legislative Task Force on Aging to examine these issues with a goal of determining if a Department on Aging needs to be created in the executive branch.

It was held over Thursday by the House State Government Finance and Elections Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion. There is no Senate companion.

A fiscal note shows an expected $152,000 cost in fiscal year 2023 and $282,000 in the 2024-25 biennium.

“Long-term, Minnesota will see a significant shift in health care costs and social services,” Klevorn said. “Minnesota needs to start thinking about these issues and how it will address them before the issues become acute.”

“A legislative task force is a first step toward a multi-decade planning and implementation that would be measurable and accountable to Minnesotans,” said Kathleen Kelso, an appointed member to the Board of Aging.

Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) wondered why the board couldn’t take on this study, and if a department would ultimately take over board duties.

“I would like to see the report that comes out of this task force and then that decision will be made,” Klevorn said. “I personally do not have the information necessary to truly make that determination at this time.”

Kelso said the volunteer board does not have the capacity or staff for the level of study sought.

Rep. Jon Koznick (R-Lakeville) likes the bill’s intent, but would “strongly oppose” it because it’s more “out-of-control” government growth.

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