For more information contact: Tyler Blackmon 651-296-8826
After a sprint at the beginning of session to tackle health premium relief, we are now deep in the weeds of building a budget that reflects the needs and values of Minnesota.
Here are a few things on my mind this week:
CONCERNS ABOUT MEDICAID FUNDS
First of all, I'm concerned about current Republican proposals out of Washington to block grant Medicaid.
Such a system would allocate funds to states based on a fixed formula unrelated to the actual costs of health care. I heard in committee last week that this will leave an $8 billion gap in Minnesota's budget that we'll have to scramble to close.
What does closing that gap look like?
Well, here in Minnesota it will mean either raising taxes in a big way or dramatically scaling back health care services to the working class and the disabled. None of these are good outcomes.
As a state legislator, I just worry that members of Congress truly don't understand how much damage their proposal would cause.
PROPERTY TAX REFUND
Many Minnesotans have started to file their taxes. As you prepare to file, don't forget that you may be eligible for a property tax refund. This is a benefit that is available to both homeowners and renters.
$15 FOR OUR CAREGIVERS
Minnesota has an acute home care worker crisis. Due to low wages, there simply are not enough caregivers in supply to meet the demand that our elderly and disabled neighbors require. And that problem will only get worse as the average age of Minnesota's population slowly ticks upward.
A simple way we can address this problem is to increase home care workers' pay. The creation of a $15 per hour wage floor will both persuade more people to become caregivers and give current caregivers the financial security they deserve.
A DEFENSE OF LGBT FAMILIES
As many of you know, I'm normally a pretty agreeable person, working hard to reach across the aisle when necessary to get results for our community.
But when someone attacks the LGBT community - especially young children - I cannot let that kind of language go unanswered.
Head over to my Facebook page to see what I had to say last week to the suggestion that kids should only be raised in "traditional" households.
That's it for now. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions/concerns. Some of the best ideas at the legislature are those that come from our constituents.
Rep. Peter Fischer