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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Report from the House

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Greetings,

It’s already getting to the time of year when it starts to hit home just how fleeting summer is in Minnesota. It’s been great seeing so many friendly faces at area parades, festivals and other events. Hope to see you out at the Wright County Fair this week in Howard Lake.

In any case, let’s continue to take full advantage of the next several weeks because, before you know it, kids will be back at school (son No. 2, Jacob, will be heading off to college this year and our third son, Aiden, will be in seventh grade). Then the leaves will start to drop and the harvest season will begin! Here’s to praying farmers have a good year and weather conditions conducive to doing their field work.

Our state certainly has had more than its share of rain this year, with disaster declarations being issued to 36 counties and the Red Lake Nation. We can empathize with those who are suffering damage because other years we have suffered through similar circumstances. Wright County has been spared by the grace of God this time, but we also are fortunate to have obtained state funding for flood-mitigation efforts in Delano to better protect us.

On another subject, we recently received good news from St. Paul indicating our state’s economy continues to grow. Minnesota Management & Budget issued an economic update last week and reports that, at the midway point of this year, state revenue is $348 million (1.6 percent) more than projected in the February 2018 Budget and Economic Forecast. MMB’s projection for General fund revenues in FY 2018 is now estimated to be 4.7 percent greater than in FY 2017.

There are a number of factors leading to our state’s economic growth, including tax relief that has been enacted at both the state and federal levels. With more money in their pockets, people are able to spend more and boost our local economies. It is good to see the decisions we have made at the Capitol this biennium continue producing results, creating optimism for the future. This is a big turnaround from a decade ago when we were facing the Great Recession and a string of budget shortfalls.

Still, there is room for improvement to make our state’s economy even stronger and to provide a more tax-friendly environment. We will indeed work to do more to lower the tax burdens on businesses and families in Minnesota. I look forward to continuing these efforts, along with doing more to get a grip on high health insurance rates that are negatively impacting Minnesotans.

The good news on health insurance is that, for the second consecutive year, House-led reforms have helped reduce or hold flat individual market rates after years of double-digit increases following the implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota. Preliminary rates for the 2019 individual insurance market reveal that all five of the carriers on the individual market are projected to decrease premiums for 2019. Average preliminary rates are dropping between 3 and 12.4 percent. The individual market serves Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own, not through an employer or the government.

The House also successfully passed other key reforms to increase the number of health care options for Minnesotans by expanding agriculture co-op plans, and allowing more insurers into the market, a move that is already paying dividends for seniors on Medicare and employees. But, once again, more work remains on health insurance and this is a top priority for the House.

On a final note, the end of this week brings us to 60 days past the Legislature’s adjournment from the 2018 session. At that point, email newsletters such as this must cease until November. I will continue communicating with constituents on a one-on-one basis during this period and, as always, your correspondence is welcome. The best way to reach me is by emailing rep.joe.mcdonald@house.mn.

Regards,

Joe

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