We had several omnibus spending bills come before the floor this week. I prefer to call them “ominous” spending bills given the high cost to taxpayers for most of them.
On Wednesday, the House debated the omnibus tax bill. Given the fact our deficit is $627 million, it is baffling to me that House Democrats want to raise taxes by $2.6 billion. Proponents of the tax bill argued that it would only affect the rich, but the bill actually raises taxes on hard-workings Minnesotans across almost every income level. Taxes will go up for 60% of single filers making between $21,650 and $73,500, and go up for 83% of joint filers making between $31,650 and $130,000. Congratulations to all the new rich people! Enjoy your new taxes! Needlessly to say, I voted NO on this tax bill that imposes a $550 tax on every person or a $2,200 tax on a family of four in the State of Minnesota. You can watch my speech on the House floor during the tax bill debate here.
Last Monday, the House debated the omnibus Health and Human Services bill. I was very disappointed that this $11.212 billion proposal included $26 million in baseline cuts to long-term care facilities. This will hurt rural nursing homes hard. The consensus among nursing home advocates is that they are better off under current law than the funding cuts proposed by the House Democrats. When we’re looking to reduce spending, we shouldn’t be cutting funding to our most vulnerable citizens. The only silver lining about this bill is that we were successful in attaching three pro-life amendments to it. One amendment requires that abortion facilities be licensed in the same manner as outpatient surgical centers. The second amendment specifies that abortion would not be included in the essential health benefit package for policies sold in the government healthcare exchange. The third amendment updates existing law stating that insurance companies can’t be required to provide abortion coverage. While I voted against the overall omnibus bill, I was proud to vote for all three of those provisions and hope they will remain in place when the bill comes back from conference committee.
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I am always interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or contact 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.