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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Duane Quam (R)

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Capitol Update from Rep. Quam

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hello from St. Paul,

I’m writing to provide you an update on a few big issues I’ve been working on at the State Capitol.

Schools Receive Aid Payback

There was great news this week, Minnesota’s public schools will receive over $600 million in education aid that was “shifted” away from them in previous budgets. Thanks to the strong economic performance that occurred under the GOP-led budget from 2011 to last June, $2.4 billion has been paid back to schools. This economic activity would likely not have occurred had Governor Dayton's multi-billion dollar tax increases been enacted in 2011.

That 2011 budget generated $3.4 billion in additional revenue, without raising one cent in taxes. Just a few months ago, Minnesota Democrats passed significant tax increases on Minnesota’s hardworking families that will likely impact economic prosperity for the next two years. Already in each of the first two months of the DFL-controlled budget, that started July 1, we’ve seen revenue fall below projections.

School districts will start receiving their checks in late October but many taxpayers will endure the roll out of additional tax increases this year and next. Remember the Democrat promises that property taxes will fall because of all the taxes they added or raised? Instead, they have stayed the same, or in many areas, they increased. School districts have new authority to approved levy increases, without voter approval, and many cities and townships have approved higher taxes on homeowners. If you have any questions about the tax changes put in place this year by the legislature, please contact me.

MNsure Obamacare Agency Goes Live

The Minnesota state agency implementing Obamacare, after several delays and system glitches, went live on Tuesday, October 1. Nationally, the vast majority of states opted out of creating a health insurance exchange. However, Governor Dayton and Democrats spent over $150 million to create our exchange. Money that could have been used to provide care for Minnesotans that can’t afford it. Problems with the federal government were rampant during the first day of operations and at MNsure, users have run into a series of issues, including a missing components, like the one to allow users to look up their current health provider.

Dayton and Democrats promised us while creating this new “super-agency” that Minnesotans would be able to keep their doctor, which is not true for all. They also promised us that our privacy would be protected, but we already had a security breach of personal information. As for cost, the average rates offered are higher, with those for southeastern Minnesota being substantially higher than those in the metro. We knew the cost of health insurance was going to increase for many of us because of Obamacare, but now we’re really starting to see the disastrous details unfold, and MNsure has again has fallen short of the sales pitch.

Several months back I started work on a bill to help protect you from one of the pitfalls of Obamacare. With the unprecedented linking of all the government data on you, it is wrong to not hold those that have access to a high standard. I propose that the navigators pass a background check, not have any convictions for fraud or theft, and be fingerprinted. These and other precautions and protections are the minimum that you deserve.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in St. Paul.


Duane Quam