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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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The latest from St. Paul

Friday, December 5, 2014


Hello from St. Paul, where we are busy putting things in place for a new Republican majority to take office Jan. 6.

One of our top jobs during the next session will be to put a new two-year budget in place.The Office of Minnesota Management and Budget issued a new state economic forecast Thursday and it projects a surplus of more than $1 billion through Fiscal Year 2016-17.

Somewhere a Democrat legislator is wishing they had just spent more.

It is good that it appears we continue recovering from the Great Recession. On the other hand, we have to ask ourselves this question: How does government have a surplus? It’s either because our state overcharged taxpayers or underspent. I think it is the former.

State government may be seeing increased revenue, but the bottom line is households are not enjoying the same kind of rise. Our top priority in the 2015 session should be to provide taxpayers breathing room instead of looking for ways to spend more of their money.”

On another note, I am pleased to announce I will serve as vice chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee. The HHS budget currently accounts for 28 percent of our state’s General Fund spending – second only to K-12 education.

It is a great honor and responsibility to serve in this role. We are responsible for helping the sick, the elderly and those who are less able to provide for themselves achieve health care. It also is our responsibility to deliver health care in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Those are great challenges and I look forward to helping bring solutions.

MNsure is a specific HHS Finance area in need of improvement. The program has encountered a wide variety of problems during first year of operation. Nothing is perfect in government, but MNsure has taken us the wrong direction and now our job is to look for ways to make it sustainable and affordable,” .

I have heard from constituents who say their cost of health insurance is now going up by 50 percent and their health care plans are not as good as what they had prior to Obamacare coming to Minnesota. There are a number of ideas for how to make MNsure better for Minnesota and I look forward to examining those for both families and businesses in our state this session.



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