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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Keeping daycare assistance where it belongs

Thursday, February 16, 2012
To the editor, The House recently passed an important bill to prevent union deductions from state childcare assistance payments, providing a layer of protection for our providers, families and taxpayers. The intent of the bill (H.F. 1766) is to ensure taxpayer funding appropriated for childcare assistance stays where it is intended: with those who care for children. This bill does not say the subsidies childcare providers receive from taxpayers cannot go toward union dues if a provider wishes to join a union; we are only making sure providers have the freedom to decide this for themselves. This firewall is a necessary response to Gov. Dayton's executive order on conducting a vote on whether to unionize privately owned daycare businesses which receive subsidies. The vote was scheduled to occur last December, but a judge questioned the governor’s order and temporarily suspended the vote. A vote could take place later this year. Without our bill, dues and other fees could be siphoned from taxpayer-provided subsidies prior to the providers receiving them if providers were to unionize. There are approximately 11,000 childcare providers in Minnesota and many of them testified at the Capitol they would not be able to continue caring for children on assistance if dues were skimmed from the subsidies they receive. This was not a bill we entered this session eager to advance, but it is necessary to insulate providers, families and taxpayers from a union attempt to tap into another taxpayer revenue stream through government overreach. Providers should be able to decide how to apply subsidy money they receive, not have it confiscated ahead of time. We must continue working to alleviate burdens our families and businesses face and promote economic growth. This bill helps in that regard and I encourage the governor to enact it when it reaches his desk. Sincerely, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
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