Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the 25th Annual Mayors' Prayer Breakfast. The proceeds from this event benefit local nonprofit Youth First Community of Promise, which seeks to help provide struggling youth with caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, a quality education, and opportunities to help others.
In legislative news, here’s an update with some info on proposed tax increases and another childcare fraud report.
Proposed Tax Increases
The House Democrat majority has recently put together its bills to fund various areas of state government. These budget bills are set to be debated and voted on by the House as a whole by the end of April.
While l hope lawmakers can change and improve these bills before they go to the governor, I have concerns with the state they’re currently in. Atop my list of concerns is the huge tax increases that these bills contain. Last Monday, Democrats unveiled their tax bill, which alone includes over $4 billion in tax increases over the next four years.
This represents a large portion of the shocking $12 billion in new taxes Democrats are proposing for the next four years. This massive tax hike is highlighted by a much-talked about 20 cent per gallon gas tax increase as well as a tax on nearly all healthcare services. As we’re considering these enormous tax increases, I want to emphasize that Minnesota still has a $1 billion budget surplus, meaning taxpayers have already paid in more than they should. In a time of such a large surplus, $12 billion in new taxes should be out of the question.
Senate Republicans have rolled out a budget that invests in priorities without raising taxes by $12 billion. I believe this is a better approach and I’m hopeful we can work with them to avoid subjecting Minnesotans to such a large tax burden.
Childcare Fraud Report
Last Wednesday, the nonpartisan legislative auditor released another report looking into fraud, waste, and abuse in the state’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP). Last week’s report focused primarily on evaluating internal controls within the program. The report detailed numerous issues at the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the county level that have resulted in inadequate program integrity. The major finding of the report is that program integrity controls at DHS “are insufficient to effectively prevent, detect, and investigate fraud in Minnesota’s Childcare Assistance Program.”
The report also included findings such as:
I’m committed to continuing to work on this issue to ensure we restore integrity to our public programs. Taxpayers deserve much better than what we’ve seen from CCAP and DHS.
Please Contact Me
As always, I want to encourage you to please contact me with any questions or input by phone at 651-296-4231 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week,