I look forward to spending some extra time in the district and talking with constituents this week as work at the Capitol pauses in observance of the Easter/Passover holiday.
It also might be a good opportunity for me to dive into the 1,000-plus pages of the Health and Human Services omnibus bill Democrats have assembled. This monstrosity is believed to be the largest bill in state history and, to me, it just looks like another piece of bloated government.
Again, I need to take a closer look at the details because it could come up for a vote of the full House very soon, but what I have seen so far is not pretty. The bill includes a $2.5 billion tax increase over the next four years, raises the cost of health care on all Minnesotans and also cuts funding for our nursing homes. Yes, you read that correctly: Democrats propose cuts to nursing homes … at a time the state has a $1 billion surplus.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as bad ideas we are seeing in the Democrats’ parade of omnibus bills. In all, they proposing more than $12 billion in tax increases over the next four years and create hundreds of new full-time state employees. They would make health care, gas, and other everyday goods and services more expensive, not to mention gouging businesses yet again and ultimately driving up prices we pay.
Here are some specifics of the tax increases Democrats propose, totaling more than $12 billion over the next four years:
Tax bill (tax hikes only): $4,004,690,000
Transportation bill: $3,873,948,000
Provider tax: $2,550,277,000
Paid Family Leave: $2,074,755,000
On a different subject, the Office of the Legislative Auditor last week issued another round of information highlighting problems that has led to rampant child care fraud in our state. An initial report from the OLA indicated a recent investigation revealed widespread fraud was taking place. Last week’s report indicated that lax controls at the Department of Human Services “are insufficient to effectively prevent, detect, and investigate fraud in Minnesota's Child Care Assistance Program.”
Democrats have repeatedly pushed off requests to hold hearings on the first OLA report, saying they wanted to wait for the release of this report. If that’s truly the case, they now will promptly call hearings to discuss the findings of both CCAP reports so we can work on cutting out this fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.
Finally, one last reminder I will be hosting a town hall meeting with Rep. Matt Grossell and Sen. Paul Utke 6 p.m. this Wednesday (April 17) at the Great Northern Bar and Grill in Bagley. Hope to see you there. Also, we continue working on the details for another town hall meeting in early May, so stay tuned for that info.