For more information contact: Tyler Blackmon 651-296-8826
We are up against deadlines to wrap up our committee work on policy issues, and soon we will begin to focus almost exclusively on creating a good budget for Minnesota families.
This week, I want to focus on my priorities going forward.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
On Monday, state legislators faced a choice:
Reinsurance: Give nearly $400 million to health insurance executives with no guarantee for expanded coverage options for Minnesotans
MinnesotaCare Buy-In: Finally allows anyone to buy into MinnesotaCare with their own premium dollars to access a trusted and tested coverage option.
It's probably no surprise where I landed on that debate. The incredibly expensive "reinsurance" plan is a bailout for health insurance companies and includes no accountability for how those executives use your taxpayer dollars. The bottom line? Taxpayers get the bill, corporations get the profits.
My hope is that we may be able to forge some sort of compromise that combines a more targeted form of reinsurance with the Governor's proposed MinnesotaCare Buy-In. I also hope to include a provision that will allow small businesses to buy into the program, as well. But compromise will depend entirely on whether legislators are willing to work together to get things done.
TARGETED TAX RELIEF
With a forecasted $1.65 billion budget surplus, we need to smart about how we give some of that money back to Minnesotans. Some legislators want reckless tax breaks for the very wealthy, but I think we should be much more targeted with our tax relief. We need to invest in middle-class families in order to grow our economy and give people a chance to thrive instead of living paycheck to paycheck.
Here are a few of my priorities for tax relief for working families:
Working Family Credit expansion - Lowers the age requirement for workers without dependent children, increases the size of the credit, and increases the incomes that families can earn and still receive the credit.
Student Loan Tax Credit - Provides $50 million annually in refundable income tax credits for student loan payments.
Past Military Service Credit expansion - Expands a credit for taxpayers who are separated from military service, have served in the military for at least 20 years and who have a service-related disability rated as 100% total and permanent.
Social Security Tax Relief - Allows more middle income seniors to receive Social Security benefits without paying taxes.
UPDATE ON THE JOBS (BONDING) BILL
It's already the middle of March and we still haven't finished our homework from last year by passing a comprehensive bonding bill.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. If you haven't already, follow me on Twitter and Facebook to get even more regular updates.