Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update from the Capitol.
Obamacare Mandates Could Cost Minnesota Schools
This week, the nonpartisan Minnesota Management and Budget released a report estimating that over the next three years, Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance could cost our schools over $200 million. This is real money out of the classroom, and I worry what it will mean for educational achievement across our state.
MMB gathered their data from a sampling of school districts across the state—talking to rural, suburban and urban districts. The costs over the next three years come from a number of new rules under Obamacare including insuring additional part time workers, higher health care costs and penalties.
While I fully support covering more Minnesotans, I am worried that the burdensome unfunded mandates under Obamacare will negatively affect our schools and take dollars out of the classroom.
State of the State
On Wednesday, Governor Dayton gave his State of the State Address. He touted the state’s economic success while ignoring the harmful impact that last year’s $2.1 billion tax increase have had on working families and small business owners.
As my guest, I brought the owner of Waldoch Sports in Columbus to hear the governor’s speech. John Waldoch’s business been directly impacted by a number of the Democrats’ anti-business tax policies, and after recently being named one of the least business friendly states in the nation (47th), it is clear the legislature and Governor Dayton need to do more to promote economic growth in Minnesota.
Women’s Veteran License Plates
On Monday, the House unanimously passed a bill to create a new license plate for female veterans. As a co-author on the bill, I am happy to see it passed unanimously. This has also been a priority for the Military Action Group over the past several years, and it is great to honor and recognize our female veterans.
Other specialty license plates recognizing veterans include Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, Vietnam veterans, and Bronze and Silver Star recipients.
Tax Freedom Day
On Tuesday, April 29th Minnesotans celebrated Tax Freedom Day—the day when the average Minnesotan has worked enough to pay all of their federal, state and local taxes. Because of our high tax burden, we have the fifth latest Tax Freedom Day in the nation.
You can read more about our state’s tax climate here.
Online Voter Registration
This week, the legislature moved to pass online voter registration after a Ramsey County Court ruled that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie overstepped his authority by setting up a new online system without legislative approval.
I am in favor of updating and modernizing our voter registration system, but believe Secretary Ritchie overreached by setting up a new online voter registration system that did not do enough to verify voter identity and protect privacy.
Both sides of the aisle worked together to craft a strong bipartisan compromise, and the online voter registration legislation was signed into law by Governor Dayton earlier this week.
National Prayer Day
May 1 was National Prayer Day, and I was honored to attend the St. Croix Valley Prayer Breakfast in Stillwater. I was also able to participate in celebrations at the Capitol with my fellow representatives.
National Prayer Day is a wonderful reminder for all of us to give thanks for the many blessings we have in our life. I know I am blessed with a wonderful family and am thankful for the honor and privilege of representing you in St. Paul.