On Thursday, House Democrats voted to pass an Obamacare bailout bill. Because of the projected state budget surplus, Democrat legislators have been salivating to spend even MORE of the money taken from you by St. Paul – as if $2.1 billion in new tax increases, $4 billion more in state spending, and a $90 million office building for state senators from the 2013 Session weren’t enough! Specifically, the Obamacare bailout bill authorizes taking $442 million from the General Fund in fiscal year 2016-2017 to refill the Healthcare Access Fund, a fund created to increase access to health care for the uninsured, because of a hole created by increased costs of Obamacare.
Democrats attempted to hide this provision by inserting it in a 436-page omnibus bill and tying it to a multitude of unrelated policy and funding provisions. A few of those individual provisions were worthy of support. Unfortunately, Democrats played political games by lumping the good with the bad. In an attempt to remove the bad items from this bill, I supported efforts put forward by my Republican colleagues that would have put $65 per-pupil on the basic formula for K-12 Education, fully funded the 5% rate increase for disability care workers, and increased penalties even stronger for sex offenders than what the Democrats proposed to do. Unfortunately, the Democrats didn’t take those amendments.
The silver lining about this legislation is that it contains an amendment I authored that provides a 5% rate increase in funding for nursing homes. The bill also provides for a 5% rate increase for those who work with the disability community. Make sure that our most vulnerable citizens have the care and support they need is a priority for me.
With a projected state budget surplus, we should focus our time and energy on funding a few key priorities. Then we should return the remaining dollars to those who paid the money in – the taxpayers of Minnesota – instead of rushing to spend more.
If you have any questions or concerns relating to any state legislative issue, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address: 211 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.