Before we get to legislative items, I want to pass along congratulations to Perham’s own Cory Hepola for taking over the late-morning slot on WCCO Radio. Cory already was doing well in his career by ascending to KARE TV but, as a former radio announcer myself, I can only imagine how pleased he is to have landed this job at ‘CCO. Good luck, Cory. We’ll be listening ... and let me know if you ever need a fill-in host for your show!
As for news from the Capitol, a press conference took place this week where House Republicans publicly urged the new House majority and Gov. Tim Walz to not to raise health care costs on Minnesotans by restoring the sick tax.
The sick tax is a 2 percent tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more. It is set to expire this coming Jan. 1, but restoring it as some Democrats in St. Paul are suggesting we should do, would result in a more than $600 million increase on health care costs for Minnesotans next year alone.
I support allowing this tax to sunset as scheduled, especially given that the state has a $1.5 billion state budget surplus. Minnesotans have made it quite clear that relief from high health care costs should be a priority this session and they deserve results. In fact, simply allowing this tax to fall off the books might be the easiest way for the Legislature to provide relief. Extending the tax would be a step in the wrong direction and is something I will not support.
Otherwise, we have been spending much of our time in the House getting committees off the ground with informational hearings and conducting overviews of the issues any given subject area. There are many new faces at the Capitol this year, so these overviews help bring us all up to speed and provide a chance to become better acquainted with one another.
Bill introductions also are a main focus on the first days of this new session and I am working on putting together proposals I will be authoring. I will pass along more details on those as they get into the legislative process.
Until next time, your input always is welcome.