Here is the latest news from Saint Paul.
Last Thursday, I introduced HF 203, a bill that will allow a county veterans service officer to share relevant data with the county assessor in order to determine a client’s eligibility for the disabled veteran's homestead market value exclusion. HF 203 was referred to the Veteran and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Division. The bill has bi-partisan support and has been co-authored by the Division’s Chair, Vice-Chair, and Republican Lead; I am optimistic that we can make this change this year.
Health Care Costs
Last Tuesday, House Republicans held a press conference urging Governor Walz and the DFL House Majority not to reinstate the sick tax. The sick tax is a two percent tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota. It adds millions of dollars to health care costs each year and is one of the most regressive taxes in the state. As a result of bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Dayton, the sick tax is set to expire on January 1, 2020. However, Governor Walz and the new HHS Finance Chair Tina Liebling have both indicated that they want this tax reinstated.
Minnesota currently has a $1.5 billion budget surplus. Additionally, both the Department of Human Services Budget Director and the non-partisan Legislative Auditor have identified areas where millions of dollars in public program benefits are going to those who are ineligible. These existing resources give us the opportunity to provide meaningful relief from burdensome health care costs; there is no need to increase taxes to accomplish this.
March for Life
Today was the 2019 March for Life. Every January 22, pro-life advocates march to the Capitol to call for a renewed respect and stronger protections for all life. It is always an honor to stand with these advocates, as well as with my pro-life colleagues, to show my support for the work that they do and reiterate my commitment to our shared values. Thank you to everyone who made the trip to Saint Paul to attend this event.
As always, if you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government or have concerns or ideas about legislation, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.