Thank you to the citizens and government officials who shared their thoughts and helpful insight during property tax listening sessions we conducted in Brainerd and Aitkin last weekend.
One subject we spent good chunks of time talking about is how unfunded mandates from the state put local governments in a bind and ultimately cost property owners. It is a complex system that confuses many and could use some straightening out. A number of local government officials – from cities, townships and counties – were very helpful in providing their perspectives.
I will keep things we heard at the listening sessions in mind as we address tax issues at the Capitol.
OUR AGING SOCIETY
Another set of challenges we face as a state is linked to the fact we have an aging population. Reports indicate more residents in our state will reach retirement age this decade than the previous four decades combined. Aitkin and Crow Wing counties are prime examples of this trend. I submitted a column to newspapers throughout District 10B addressing this issue – and highlighting some legislation I’ve co-authored to help us in this regard. Keep your eyes out for my column in the papers!
MNSURE AUDIT ISSUED
The nonpartisan Legislative Auditor’s office issued a report regarding MNsure this week and it was highly critical. The report indicated MNsure’s “failures outweighed its achievements in its first year of operation.”
Low enrollment has been a problem throughout the program’s first year in existence. Added to that, public enrollments have far outpaced the private enrollments this program relies on to be sustainable. A few notable statistics to date:
72 percent of MNsure enrollees surveyed said they already had insurance.
MNsure commercial enrollments have missed Democrat projections by 88% (49,000 actual enrollments vs. 413,000 promised in the 2013 Fiscal Note).
58 percent of those survey by the OLA spent at least four hours on the enrollment process
Among people surveyed who enrolled through MNsure in a qualified health plan, 75 percent reported having “significant” technical problems with the website.
Legislation has been introduced in the House to improve MNsure in a variety of ways, fixing things that are still not working properly and adding measures that were overlooked when the program was constructed. My focus is on increasing accountability, accessibility and affordability.
I will keep you posted.