It’s always good to see constituents at the State Capitol! Recently I was able to meet Hastings High School student Cecclia Peterson who was serving as a page in the Minnesota House High School Page program.
I enjoy meeting students and am excited to see them interested in government. The page program gives them the opportunity to learn more about the legislative process and get directly involved.
NUSRING HOME PROBLEMS HIT HOME
We’ve all heard about the issues nursing homes and long-term care facilities are facing in trying to find employees and paying them acceptable wages. Another problem is the cost residents pay for care.
Not long ago I heard from a constituent who said the rates at their care center had increased by a whopping $1,200 per month, so I decided to dig into the topic.
I’ve learned that the state sets reimbursement rates for nursing homes, which contributes to the problem. But then I look at the tax returns for the organization and see executives getting six figure bonuses while implementing massive rate hikes. That also doesn’t sit well with me. Can you imagine if you suddenly received notice that your mortgage or rent was increasing by $1,200 next month?
I’m pleased my constituent will be joining me in the coming days to try and get some answers, and I’m looking forward to finding a solution. I also know that we have the largest surplus ever - $18 billion – and I’m disappointed that Democrats have not made nursing homes one of their top priorities as this is clearly an area where state government should be able to help.
COTTAGE GROVE SALES TAX INCREASE?
Cottage Grove city officials contacted me recently asking for the ability to institute a local option sales tax to help pay for: $6 Million in River Oaks improvements, $17 Million in Hamlet Parks improvements, and $13 Million in Mississippi Dunes Park construction costs. This is not something the City can do on its own; it needs a legislator to draft a bill and have it signed into law before the city can ask residents to vote on whether or not they support increasing their taxes for these specific projects.
To me, this is a process move and allows local residents to determine how their tax dollars should be spent. At a time when inflation is high and government has a nearly $18 billion budget surplus, I am not advocating for any new taxes. Yet, the City of Cottage Grove is prioritizing the above projects and wants its citizens to decide if they support raising their local taxes to get them. It’s not unlike a school levy request that allows people to have their say. So, a heads up to the people of Cottage Grove that a local option sales tax request may be headed their way in the future, and that they should learn as much as they can about the projects so they can make an informed decision if and when they are asked to vote on it.