We have entered the final budget negotiation stage of the 2019 legislative session with a little over a week to go until final adjournment. Leadership from the House Democrat majority, Senate Republican majority, and Governor Walz have been meeting to try and reach compromise on a final budget deal.
When we discuss budgets, we are ultimately talking about priorities. For example, Minnesotans across the state set their own spending priorities when they sit down around the kitchen table and put together the family budget for the month.
This session, House Democrats have prioritized a massive tax and spend budget that grows the size of government to unsustainable levels and would raise taxes on Minnesotans by more than $12 billion over the next four years.
While the majority of folks have contacted me in the last few weeks to voice their opposition to the excessive tax increases, even more recently, I have started to hear from constituents about the proposed cuts to nursing home facilities that were included in House Democrats’ budget.
You read that right, at a time when the state has a $1 billion budget surplus, House Democrats are trying to cut nursing home funding by $68 million.
These cuts are indefensible when you consider that Democrats are seeking to raise nearly $12 billion in new taxes over the next four years. In fact, the $68 million they want to cut from nursing homes is about 1 tenth of 1 percent of their total proposed budget. I find it hard to believe that they cannot balance their budget without cutting nursing homes. If that truly is the case, maybe it’s time to reevaluate priorities.
For our area, nursing care facilities like Bethany and Woodland would see their funding reduced by nearly $2 million over the next five years if the House Democrat budget were to be enacted.
These are the local facilities that do such an outstanding job of caring for our parents, grandparents, and neighbors.
For years, Minnesota had a rich bipartisan tradition of prioritizing care for our seniors and most vulnerable citizens. That’s why I was so surprised to see these debilitating cuts in the House Democrat budget.
I urge House Democrats to reassess their budget priorities and restore funding to our nursing home facilities. With a $1 billion budget surplus, massive tax increases, and a bump in overall spending, there is no reason why this critically important funding needs to be cut.
I am hopeful that the Republican majority in the Senate will be able to hold the line on these tax increases and will work to ensure these funding cuts to nursing homes are restored. As for myself, I will continue to work hard to make sure that our seniors can age with dignity and grace receiving the care that they need.
Staying in Touch
That’s all for this week’s update. I will have more information for you as the session progresses. In the meantime, I urge you to contact me to share any thoughts, concerns, or questions you may have. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and have a great weekend,