Today’s workforce – and companies – have a more global outlook and are not constrained geographically. They can go wherever it makes sense – whether taking a job or locating a business in St. Cloud, Seattle or Shanghai. We need new thinking and new approaches to some state policies to ensure Minnesota can continue to claim its position as a “State of Great” in this rapidly changing world. Without some changes, we risk a lot.
The 2017-2018 Legislature increased state funding for education by $1.343 billion for 2018-2019. Not only did schools see substantial increases in funding, but several key reforms were adopted in areas like early education and teacher retention. We supported expanding Parent Aware scholarships for low-income families because when there are limited resources, we strongly support targeting those resources. New funding totaling more than $10M per year (annual total $70M) was included. School Boards will also now have the opportunity to retain teachers based on factors like performance and quality, not just seniority.
You can CLICK HERE to find out if your State Representative supported these policies.
Tell legislators that transparency matters! Families are hungry for clear, understandable information about how their local schools are doing. Parents deserve to know if their school or district is meeting the mark. Communities want to celebrate their school’s successes or know when improvements are needed. As Minnesota builds a new school- performance dashboard, we owe it to families and communities to make it as clear and user-friendly as possible by including an overall, summary school rating. .
Balanced Tax Policies
We supported legislation passed in 2017 that reduces the statewide business property tax and repeals the automatic tax inflator. As a top ten highest state in business property taxes, this legislation will help Minnesota companies be more competitive, which will benefit employees and Minnesota communities. Other provisions that became law include:
- Social Security Benefits- Eliminated or reduced taxes for nearly 284,000 senior citizens
- Parents- Expanded child care tax credits
- Students- Created a new state tax credit for student loan payments
- Farmers & Small Businesses- Property tax relief
You can CLICK HERE to read a summary of the entire bill.
The Best Health Care at a Lower Cost
Minnesota is home to some of the best care available in the world, but, along with the rest of the country, we are struggling with the growth in costs. Minnesota made real strides by passing a nationally recognized “reinsurance” program that reduced rates about 20 percent on average for Minnesotans and stabilized the individual market. Some policy makers are now advocating for a MinnesotaCare buy-in option, also referred to as MinnesotaCare for all. This proposal does not address the actual cost of healthcare, it simply shifts it. Currently only available to low-income Minnesotans, the proposal would allow any Minnesotan regardless of income to join MinnesotaCare. The Minnesota Council of Health Plans concluded that a MinnesotaCare buy-in option could increase premiums for a privately insured average family of four by nearly $950! The buy-in option is a big step toward a complete government takeover of healthcare. Single-payer would require an estimated $17 billion in dedicated taxes and jeopardize access to doctors and hospitals (especially in rural areas).
Innovative market-based approaches can make a real difference on cost for Minnesotans. Patients also need be empowered with the information they need to shop between providers and force competition. Finally, we have a lot of room to make real strides on eliminating waste and inefficiencies.
For example, Minnesota’s Health Records Act (MHRA) should align with federal laws and standards that govern health data privacy practices just like it does in 48 other states. Existing state law is a barrier to the exchange of clinical information because its requirements go beyond those of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). By updating state law, caregivers could access potentially life-saving information needed to deliver the best care possible. This would also lead to higher patient satisfaction and lower health care costs by reducing duplicative procedures and tests. This is led by the Better Care Coalition.