With the adjournment deadline about a month away, we are seeing a flurry of omnibus bills being put forward by House Democrats. On Monday, the House DFL leadership released their tax plan. This proposal actually “one-ups” Governor Dayton’s tax plan to create a fourth tier income tax bracket and creates a so-called temporary fifth tier income tax bracket. The last “temporary” tax that was enacted in 1991 – a half-cent sales tax increase – still exists today. As House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt recently said, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary tax. The House Democrat tax plan also seeks to impose higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. I continue to believe that before we ask for more in taxes from hard-working Minnesotans, we should go line-by-line through our budget to cut out wasteful spending. Taking $2.6 billion out of the private economy, I predict, will have a devastating effect on our state's economy.
House Democrats also unveiled their “jobs” bill this week. As I look through this bill, I don’t see much that would encourage private-sector job growth and instead see quite a bit of wasteful spending items including $28 million for Explore Minnesota advertising, $140,000 for a homeless voicemail service (which is already provided by a private organization, for FREE), and $360,000 for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for marketing consultants to rebrand state programs. Hardworking taxpayers can’t afford to pay more for Democrats’ wasteful spending. These spending items won’t create jobs or encourage entrepreneurs to start a business. We need solutions that create a healthy economy and sustainable job growth for Minnesota.
I’m also quite concerned about the Health and Human Services omnibus bill that cuts nursing homes and senior living by $5 million. When Democrats are proposing to raise $2.6 billion in revenue from hard-working taxpayers, it is baffling to me they would cut funding for our most vulnerable citizens. I believe this budget is a result of misplaced priorities. Instead of cutting this funding, the HHS budget should focus on priorities in way that’s efficient and effective.
OMNIBUS DATA PRACTICES BILL
Last week I participated in a press conference with other Republican legislators, Twila Brase of the Citizens’ Council on Health Freedom, and bioethics Professor Michele Goodwin to raise concerns about the House File 695 – the omnibus data practices bill. I am troubled about how this bill would permit the Minnesota Department of Health to acquire DNA data from individuals without their consent. The Minnesota Department of Health, as a result of the Bearder v. State of Minnesota decision, needs informed consent from people when using their biological information. The department is still not doing this and this bill would exempt them from doing so into the future.
I am always interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Peggy.Scott@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-4231. You can also send me mail to my office address: 201 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.