Spring has found its way into our area. Thank God for the nice weather. District 9B is ready for farmers to begin working the fields, the ice to go away in preparation of the fishing opener, and for golf courses to open. This is the season of Prom, crappie fishing and city garage sales! Enjoy!
Last Monday, I stood alongside more than two dozen members of the Rural Caucus, and urged my colleagues across the aisle to reconsider $26 million dollar in cuts to our nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Part of the Health and Human Services budget that was ultimately passed on Monday was $150 million dollars in cuts, including that $26 million dollars to our nursing homes.
Given that the majority passed $2.6 billion dollars in tax increases on Wednesday, I believe it reflects seriously misplaced priorities. The budget passed in 2011 made a promise to seniors, and that promise is at risk of being broken unless we act and restore the $26 million dollars that was budgeted to go toward senior centers and nursing homes.
I have spoken with the nursing homes and senior care centers in our district, and other providers have testified in committee saying they would prefer that current law stay the same, rather than making the changes proposed in the Health and Human Services omnibus bill.
I sent a letter to our local papers about this issue, which you can read by clicking here.
As I mentioned, Wednesday the House passed the Tax Omnibus Bill, which represents the largest tax increase in the last thirty years. Four of my colleagues across the aisle joined all Republicans in voting against this increase.
I'm opposed to the bill for a few simple reasons. First, it raises taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, taxes that impact low and middle-income families the hardest. I simply don't think that's fair. Balancing the budget by using "sin" taxes is not sound financial planning. If we care about reducing smoking, then let's expand public health efforts. Secondly, due to reductions in the income tax brackets, thousands of Minnesotans making even as little as $21,651 per year could be vaulted in to a new tax bracket, raising their income taxes. This is poor planning and continues to add more complexity to an already onerous MN tax code. Third, I think we should be taking a hard look at all of our spending, ensuring that we've eliminated wasteful spending and that our government programs are running as efficiently and effectively as possible before we ask hardworking taxpayers for more of their hard-earned dollars.
It was my pleasure to welcome a number of students from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life from our district to the Capitol earlier this week. They got to tour the Capitol, and I had a chance to take this picture with them on the House floor:
As always, if you or a group you're a part of are coming to Saint Paul, I hope you'll reach out to my office and schedule a meeting. It's always great to hear from and see constituents down here in Saint Paul.
You can contact my office at time by emailing Rep.Ron.Kresha@house.mn or by calling 651-296-4247.
Have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 09B