Three area clinics have been certified as Health Care Homes through the Minnesota Department of Health’s Health Care Homes program. Congratulations to the Fergus Falls Clinic, Battle Lake Clinic and Ashby Clinic for achieving this status. According to MDH, primary care clinics or clinicians certified by the Minnesota Department of Health coordinate care among the primary care team, specialists and community partners to ensure patient-centered, whole person care and improve total health and well-being.
As for the latest from St. Paul, the House has been busy voting on omnibus finance bills that eventually will make up various parts of our state’s next two year budget. The House and Senate both have provided preliminary approval of all their finance bills and there are rather large areas of disagreement to resolve before our May 20 deadline to adjourn.
In the last several days, House Democrats have voted to fund a pay raise for legislators, cut $68 million from nursing homes, raise taxes by $12 billion across all their budget bills, increase health care costs and hike the gas tax by 70 percent (20 cents per gallon).
Here are overviews of the more notable bills to come through the House in recent days, with each receiving approval mainly on party-line votes with Democrats in support.
The transportation bill (HF 1555) increases the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon and also increases the vehicle registration tax, the metro sales tax, and the new-vehicle sales tax – in total raising transportation taxes by more than $4 billion over four years.
The state has enough tax revenue to improve our roads and bridges without raising the tax and placing an even more disproportionate burden on lower- and middle-income earners and residents of Greater Minnesota in general … all at a time our state has a $1 billion budget surplus. It all comes down to priorities and House Republicans provided a historic investment in roads and bridges last biennium without raising taxes.
As the lead minority member on higher education, this week I voiced concerns over House Democrats acting on a $3.6 billion higher education bill (SF 2415) Tuesday while continuing to delay the election of four University of Minnesota Board of Regents, a constitutional duty of the Minnesota Legislature.
It really is a dereliction of duty on behalf of House Democrats. Failing to elect a new class of regents is a disservice to the candidates, a disservice to the selection committee and a disservice to the University of Minnesota. Most importantly, it is a disservice to the students and to the state’s taxpayers who fund this institution with billions of dollars.
Finally, the omnibus tax bill (HF 2125) also has been approved as another part of the House majority’s plan to raise taxes on Minnesotans by more than $12 billion over the next four years. The tax bill itself includes $3 billion in new increases over the next four years, resulting in increased consumer prices, reduced wages, and fewer job opportunities in our state.
Look for more as things unfold in St. Paul.