Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

Back to profile

Legislative Update from Rep. Brian Johnson

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


U.S. Army Deployment Ceremony

On Saturday, a deployment ceremony for 149 soldiers of the 850th Horizontal Engineer Company based in Cambridge was held, the unit is deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They have been training for several months for their mission and will conduct missions such as: repair, maintenance and road construction, emplace culverts, hauling, force protection and limited clearing operations in Afghanistan. Like all of our active military men and women, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

February Budget Forecast Shows Improving Economy

Last Thursday, legislators were given a positive economic forecast report from Minnesota Management & Budget. Minnesota’s projected budget deficit for 2014-2015 is now $627 million, a small fraction of the original estimate of $4.4 billion two years ago. This was a result of stronger than expected economic growth under Republican fiscal policies enacted in 2011. Just two years ago, Republican majorities in St. Paul took on the difficult task of balancing the state’s massive budget deficit while not impeding the economic growth necessary to refill state revenue accounts. These policies have delivered steady, consistent improvements to the budget outlook.

I am also proud to report that another $290 million from the updated budget will be directed to buy down the K-12 school shift, leaving a balance of $801 million remaining. All in all, the Republican budget has paid back the entire school shift enacted in 2011 and is now being directed towards the DFL school borrowing that occurred in 2010.

In light of this positive economic news, Governor Dayton’s tax and spending increases aren’t wise fiscal policy, and moreover, they aren’t fair to the people of Minnesota. With the economy slowly recovering, now is not the time to dramatically increase government spending and force tax increases through the Legislature. I urge the Governor and his DFL legislative allies to put together a budget that requires the state to live within its means.

State Healthcare Exchange

The Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) bill was passed last night by the House of Representatives without my support. The Exchange officially brings Obamacare to Minnesota through a multi-million dollar government entity with little accountability to the public or taxpayers.

I heard the bill in the House Civil Law Committee and had the same concerns with it then as I do now. The new super agency limits consumer choice, jeopardizes patient data privacy, and raises the cost of health insurance. President Obama promised Americans when signing the Affordable Care Act that they would be able to keep their doctor and their premiums wouldn’t increase. Both of these are proving to be systematically false as the MN Health Exchange comes to life. Never in our history has an entity been created with such enormous power, the HIX even has exemptions that shroud the agency in secrecy and limit public notice. Many of the same elements of Obamacare that alarmed all of us after its passage are now hitting close to home.

“Savings” that the bill’s authors have publicized are from federal subsidies – unstable ‘funny money’ which is mostly borrowed. The Exchange seeks to control the entire health insurance market to limit your choice and prevent you from choosing your own doctor. It will be governed by a politically-appointed board of seven members that choose which plans get into the system and which ones don’t. This is unprecedented in Minnesota, a state where we have prided ourselves on having great health care already.

As always, please contact me with your thoughts and questions.