This week’s headlines have included everything from a critical report of MNsure’s failures, to an LP price spike and continued interest in repealing taxes Democrats and Gov. Mark Dayton enacted in 2013.
MNsure’s dubious first four months in existence is highly concerning and spurred an independent consultant to investigate. The report indicates MNsure’s structure is “non-existent” and that executives have been making decisions in a “crisis mode.”
Enrollment is far behind even worst-case projections. If the gap isn’t closed, MNsure will be facing a severe budget shortfall and that could drive up costs. Government already has spent more than $150 million setting up this insurance program, yet people are having policies canceled they were told they could keep. Other citizens are seeing their premiums increase. Security has been breached and the top MNsure executive has been replaced after the lackluster launch.
The multi-million-dollar questions are: What can be done to fix these issues? And, how much more will this cost taxpayers? The state’s legislative auditor, James Nobles, is in the midst of leading a months-long investigation which should at least help us learn the depths of MNsure’s problems.
As for repealing taxes, it seems damaging impacts of the historic increases Dayton and Democrats levied on Minnesotans are now coming to light. We should be doing more to improve the jobs environment in Minnesota, but their tax increases are having the opposite effect. The link I included in the first paragraph of this letter under “repealing” touches on this.
Three new taxes – on equipment repairs, telecommunications and warehousing – appear to be especially problematic and could be first on the chopping block. Updated information from the February economic forecast will go a long way toward determining what can be done to provide relief.
On the topic of LP, I am hearing from area farmers and homeowners who are concerned that the price of this gas has recently sharply risen. This is a significant issue for people who use LP to heat their homes and/or livestock barns. It is a problem impacting around 25 states which could put many people in a financial bind as they face higher heating bills.
This issue has the attention of state leaders, including the governor. I will pass along more information as things develop. Meantime, here is a link to a St. Paul Pioneer-Press article with more information on this subject, including a phone number people can call to get help with heating bills.