Next week the Health and Human Services bill is expected to come to the floor for debate. The proposal aims to spend approximately $11 billion dollars in general fund money for the 2014-2015 biennium. One of the most disappointing and egregious aspects of the proposal is that it would cut nursing homes by $26 million dollars from 2014-2015 baseline spending. This cut would have devastating effects, risking the closure of nursing homes in Greater Minnesota.
As of this year there are 115 facilities that are at risk of closing, a large percentage of which are in Greater Minnesota. Using accounting shifts and gimmicks, the Democrats falsely claim that they are increasing funding to nursing homes.
What they aren't telling you is that the so-called increase is paid for using unsustainable and unstable shifts and gimmicks , and amount to a $26 million dollar cut. That $26 million dollars is needed to provide the current level of staff and services for our seniors. Without it, cuts will have to be made to already stretched-thin facilities.
Countless nursing homes have stated in committee and in conversations with many legislators in Greater Minnesota that the nursing homes would be better off under the current budget passed by Republicans in 2011 than they would under the Democrat proposal.
Simply put, these reckless cuts to nursing homes reflect the misplaced priorities of the Democrats. Despite raising taxes by $2.6 billion dollars, Democrats were somehow unable to fully fund and prioritize nursing homes and the workers that care for the Greatest Generation. Democrats are willing to spend tens of millions on wasteful spending projects in the Metro area, but are content to put dozens of nursing homes in Greater Minnesota at risk.
With billions of dollars in new spending and taxes, it's time that we prioritize our seniors and the workers that care for them. Democrat leaders should re-evaluate their spending plans, and find the fraction of a percent of money that it would take to ensure that we aren't putting nursing homes in Greater Minnesota at risk.
Environment/Agriculture Omnibus Bill Passed
Yesterday we voted on the Democrats Environmental/Agriculture Finance bill. This bill is full of provisions that spend hardworking taxpayer money on wasteful programs that they do not want or need.
If you use city water, own a permitted well or lake cabin, want to paint or re-carpet your home, or just want to change the batteries in your remote control prepare to have more money confiscated from your pocketbook.
Our district will be impacted particularly impacted given that fees for lake associations with go up over 300%. In addition farmers will be forced to pay more to water the crops that produce the food we eat. It's simply unacceptable to ask Minnesotans to be paying more in fees when there is so much wasteful government spending in each of these budget bills. I plan to oppose any fee increases, and will continue to fight to protect your pocketbook.
To date after passing just two budget bills, Democrats have already increased fees, or hidden taxes, by over $40 million dollars. These are the first of many fee increases in their proposed 2014-2015 budget. You can read more about all of the hundreds of millions of dollars in fees they intend to raise by clicking here.
Have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 15A