Last night, the House took up final passage of the government healthcare exchange bill. It came back to the House after the Senate had passed its own version and the proposal went to conference committee. Although I thought the bill couldn’t get any worse, it did. When the House initially took up the bill, we approved an amendment on a strong bipartisan vote that would prohibit the government exchange from funding abortion coverage. When the bill came back from conference committee, we discovered the pro-life provision had been removed. Several motions were made on the floor to reject the committee report in an effort to eventually try to get the pro-life provision back into the bill. I strongly supported each of those motions. Unfortunately, those motions failed. Given my concerns about the costs to consumers, restrictions on healthcare choices, and lack of safeguards for patient healthcare data – on top of the fact that there was no provision to ban abortion funding – I voted against final passage of the government exchange. Unfortunately, it passed the House with support only from DFL legislators.
We also learned this past week about Governor Dayton’s updated budget proposal. While I appreciate the fact he removed the business-to-business tax and expanded sales tax proposals, he continues to want impose higher taxes on small business through the creation of a fourth tier income tax bracket. In total, the governor wants $1.8 billion in new taxes from taxing the top two percent of earners (the small businesses), $30 million of taxes on snowbirds, and $317 million of taxes on cigarettes. I continue to be concerned that imposing so many new taxes on Minnesotans will only encourage the families and businesses in our area to move to North Dakota.
I’ve decided to host another series of town hall meetings so I can hear from constituents from all parts of my district in person. I’m eager to hear your thoughts, questions, and concerns on issues before the legislature. Here are the details for the next four town hall meetings:
Saturday, March 23 at 8:00 a.m. – Lake Park Café, 2030 2nd Street, Lake Park
Saturday, March 23 at 1:00 p.m. – Cottage House Café, 119 Main St. NW, Menahga
Saturday, March 30 at 9:00 a.m. – Red Apple Café (backroom), 116 N. Main Street, Mahnomen
Saturday, March 30 at 1:00 p.m. – D & R Café, 27 Central Street West, Bagley
As always, I’m eager to get input from you with your thoughts on issues before the legislature. If you can’t make it, you can always contact my office. I can be reached via email at email@example.com. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-9918. Mail can be sent to Rep. Steve Green, 231 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.
Have a great weekend!