On Tuesday, Senate Republicans renewed the Reinsurance plan that subsidizes health insurance claims over $50,000 using taxpayer money. The bill (SF 761) passed with bipartisan support and all Republican Senators present voted for it.
Immediately following the vote, the Senate Republican Caucus initiated a social media campaign to brag about their "reforms" bringing down the cost of health insurance. State Senator Michelle Benson, one of the bills authors, wrote "today the Senate voted to extend the successful reinsurance program. The results are indisputable — after years of double digit increases, reinsurance held premiums in check and actually reduced costs for many customers."
Action 4 Liberty opposes the bill and believes the Senate Republicans are misleading the public. Health insurance plans are reducing in price because taxpayers are paying for the biggest cost to insurance companies.
The program is similar to the objective of ObamaCare's exchange market: to give the perception that health insurance prices are lower than they truly are. In the case of Obamacare, taxpayer money is used up front to subsidize the purchase of policies in the state exchanges. The Republican bill uses taxpayer money on the back end and goes directly to the insurance claims.
Here's the vote:
The Minnesota State Economist released the February Economic Forecastthis morning that showed the government continues to overtax us and hold a record level of our money in a reserve account. According to the report, revenue projections fell by nearly $400 Million for the upcoming biennium.
Government numbers suggest a total budget surplus of $1.052 Billion and our lazy media reports that number as accurate. However, the surplus assumes automatic 4.2% growth in spending and that government will continue to withhold a whopping $2.4 Billion from job creators and families for reserves.
Action 4 Liberty calls for Republicans to hold the line on spending and significantly reduce the budget reserves. If spending froze at current biennium levels and half the reserves were given back to taxpayers, the budget surplus would be $4 Billion
What to do with $4 Billion? Legislators could reduce income taxes, eliminate the death tax, get rid of social security taxes and never let the Walz gas tax see the light of day.
Making It Illegal to Lend Your Brother-in-Law a Firearm
What is proposed: Democrat legislators in the Minnesota House and Senate introduced two gun control bills. House File (HF) 8 is the Universal Background check that requires law-abiding gun owners to go through a background check when buying or transferring a firearm to a relative, friend or acquaintance. HF 9 (SF 436 in the Senate) is known as the Red Flags bill and it allows government to confiscate firearms from individuals without due process when someone alerts local law enforcement that the individual is “dangerous”. The Red Flag law would violate our 2nd, 4th and 6th Amendment rights, making individuals “guilty until proven innocent”.
Who introduced it:The bills were introduced by the most radical gungrabbers in the legislature: Rep Dave Pinto (DFL – St Paul) and Sen Ron Latz (DFL – St Louis Park).
What are they trying to do:The intent of the universal background check bill is to create a gun registry of gun owners that would aid in the eventual confiscation of firearms when the mood of the nation turns against gun rights. Democrats seek to eventually ban “assault style” rifles and handguns. Many Democrats believe the government should confiscate these types of firearms.
Current status:The Democrats have control of the Minnesota House and likely have the votes for the bill in that chamber. They have a bigger challenge in the Senate where Republicans hold a slim majority and there is public opposition to the bill by rural DFL senators. However, two Republican Senators, Scott Jensen (Chaska) and Paul Anderson (Plymouth) have shown support for gun control bills in the past. The MN House will have a committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb 27th at 7 pm that will generate a lot of media attention.
What you can do: Political activism comes down to two things: give your time or give your money. We need gun owners to show up to the Public Safety Committee hearing on Wed, Feb 27that 7 pm in Capitol Rm 120. Democrats want to stack their people at the hearing so the media says “the people” demand gun control. Let’s stop them.
Governor Tim Walz just released his first budget proposalthis afternoon. Instead of prioritizing giving back the massive budget surplus to taxpayers, Walz proposes spending it all and increasing taxes. His budget grows the state government by $4 Billion or 9%.
On top of that, the Governor briefly mentioned an additional $1.3 Billion in debt spending. Walz plans on releasing a proposed bonding bill next week. Currently our state government pays $1.3 Billion each biennium just to service our outstanding debt.
As promised on the campaign trail, Walz wants to create a public option in health care for all Minnesotans. His proposal comes with several promises like lower visit costs and prescription drugs prices. He wants to expand the public option to include dental benefits.
How to pay for all of this? Governor Walz proposes increasing taxes by reinstating the health care provider tax and increasing the state’s gasoline tax. Currently, Minnesota’s gas tax falls in line with the national average.
A recent study by Kiplinger ranked Minnesota as the least tax friendly state in the country. Walz appears to wear that ranking with a badge of honor as he expands the egregious taxes that Minnesotans will pay.
Senate Republicans announced their top four budgetpriorities this morning, ruling out a cut in actual government spending. Instead, they plan to "control spending" referencing the 39% growth over the last 8 years as something that needs to be restrained. However, Senate Republicans overwhelmingly helped pass a budget last biennium that grew government by 10% and also added $2.5 Billion of bonding debt.
Absent from Senate Republicans' priorities is a statement about giving back the surplus to taxpayers. Action 4 Liberty reported that there is nearly $5 Billion of surplusavailable to give back to Minnesota taxpayers. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka discussed continuing expensive programs like the Health Reinsurance program that Republicans passed last year. That legislation uses taxpayer money to cover insurance claims over $50,000.
The press release highlights four priorities:
- Take care of people
- Protect the taxpayer by living within our means
- Control spending and hold government accountable
- Be transparent and get done on time
Action 4 Liberty believes that Senator Paul Gazelka and his team have let down Republican voters again by not proposing to shrink government and return the surplus. They show up to conventions telling us that government is too big, but never actually propose shrinking it. On top of that, they are starting in a position of weakness in negotiating the next two year budget with the DFL controlled House and Governor Walz.
A bipartisan coalition of legislators at the Capitol want to make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving in Minnesota unless a hands-fee device is employed. The House bill HF50currently has only Democrat authors, but is being supported by Republican leadership behind the scenes. It's companion bill in the Minnesota Senate is authored by GOP Senator Scott Newman.
Politicians are promoting this bill using emotional appeals to people who have lost loved ones in car accidents. But research suggests that hands free device legislation does not lead to lower automobile fatalities. According to the Safety Council, new research suggests that using "voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand."
If the bill becomes law, violators could face a fine of $225 on a second offense. The bill labels an offense as someone who initiates a cell phone call, talks or listens on a cell phone or views or listens to video content while operating a motor vehicle. Imagine how much commercial and personal business is conducted safely every day using a cell phone in a vehicle. In August of this year, it could be a banned activity.
Action 4 Liberty believes this law limits personal freedom, while not achieving a desirable impact. We will score this vote on our scorecard this year.
Provided by The
National Safety Council
Minnesota Management and Budget office released today the most recent economic forecastwhich is used by legislators and the governor to determine the next biennium budget. If you open a newspaper or tune into the 6 o'clock news, you'll hear the same talking point: Minnesota projected to have a $1.5 Billion surplus. But this is a fallacy. The government is overtaxing us by far more than that!
Projected revenues for the next biennium are $48.3 Billion. The expenditures used in the report assume government will automatically increase by 4.2%, but if the government didn't grow and remained the same size it is today, total expenditures would be $45.5 Billion. That means there would be a surplus of $3.5 Billion.
More importantly, our state government has taken our money at an unprecedented level and put it into a rainy day fund. They are holding onto over $2 Billion of cash that is not being used in our economy for investment and expansion, or for you during the Christmas season. If we released half of that money, the scenario we face is actually a $4.7 Billion surplus.
JOIN US ON FRIDAY AT THE MERMAID!
Back in 2015 as the first legislative session under newly elected Speaker Kurt Daudt came to a close, many of us conservatives were left wondering what the Majority actually accomplished for the conservative movement. At his post-session press conference, Daudt had a poster board of Minnesota House Republican accomplishments that actually listed “Completed Strong Bipartisan Budget” and “Finished Work on Time” as some of the session highlights. What an inspiring message (sarcasm emphasized here).
In 2017, I moved to a new district and had the pleasure of attending my Republican caucus for the first time in my new hometown. My Republican legislator, an 8 year veteran, stood in front of the crowd of like-minded, party loyalists and boasted her accomplishments. Number one on the list: she got Minnesota to add pro-life license plates. I’ll never forget looking around the room at the underwhelmed activists and voters listening to the most boring re-election campaign launch speech in history.
My friend and partner-in-crime Jack Rogers made a bold prediction last year that can’t go unnoticed. He predicted on our Living Free podcast that Minnesota Republicans would lose the Minnesota House in 2018. This was in response to Speaker Daudt and Sen. Paul Gazelka coming out of the gate with a budget proposal that grew government by 8% and offered no significant reforms to our broken health care system.
At the time, Jack understood that the Republican brand was going to be tainted since campaign promises were already being broken months into the newly elected, historic Republican Majority at the Capitol. We weren’t fans of Speaker Daudt at the time, and had mixed, but optimistic feelings about Majority Leader Gazleka. However, we were willing to do whatever was necessary to advance the conservative agenda. We thought the best thing to do was to come up with some ideas that could be implemented.
Upon review of the Minnesota general budget surplus, we noticed that the State Economist assumed spending growth of 7% as a baseline in determining surpluses/deficits. So we took the budget numbers, froze spending and released some of the insanely high budget reserves and found that it would be easy for Republicans to propose a massive $5 Billion tax cut without cutting a dime of spending. This idea would’ve been a great campaign item to run on in 2018 and also would’ve been a great policy to push forward if we want to retain our businesses. But that idea was never embraced by leadership. It fell on deaf ears.
We also promoted the idea of passing a Constitutional Amendment that guaranteed the “right to keep and bear arms”. Most people don’t know this, but that language does not exists anywhere in our state Constitution. We alleged that this could easily be done since the Governor does not weigh in on Amendments. Can you imagine how beneficial it would’ve been in this election to have high turnout by gun rights supporters? Unfortunately, this idea also went nowhere with the Republican Majority.
What did we get instead: more government intrusion in the health care industry. Under Daudt and Gazelka’s guidance, Minnesota Republicans subsidized individual health care plans and also bailed out MNsure by reinsuring health claims over $50,000. They robbed Peter, to pay Paul. Then this fall, when health insurance companies stated that premiums would come down slightly, Republicans boasted that their reforms were working. It appears Minnesota voters weren’t that dumb.
We have a significant brand problem right now as Minnesota Republicans. The Party who ran opposed to ObamaCare (and MNsure) and ran on cutting spending and giving back surpluses, did absolutely the exact opposite once taking over control of the legislature. I once told Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan that I would never like her job, because despite all the work she does to promote the Republican brand, it will essentially be defined by what our elected Republicans do at the Capitol.
Minnesota Republican legislative leadership has been playing the “Minnesota nice” game too long and abandoning the base. If their model of Democrat-lite worked, then 16 Minnesota Suburban Republican house seats would not have been lost on Tuesday night. I’m sure Daudt is pointing fingers right now at Trump or the Party, but he should take a look in the mirror. His historic majority not only ended in defeat at the ballot box, we got nothing to show for it other than $2.5 Billion in new debt on the state credit card.
Why moderate the caucus so much if it doesn’t end up helping in the election? Has anyone noticed that despite not a single Republican plan actually eliminated pre-existing conditions, all Democrats used that accusation in their ads against their Republican opponents. I suggest that actually passing conservative reforms would help us electorally, but even if I’m wrong and we’d lose either way, at least we would have something to show for those two years.
It’s concerning to me that the chatter amongst the remaining survivors of the massive blue wave in the Minnesota House is that Daudt is going to pull a Nancy Pelosi and become the Minority Leader despite losing the Majority under his watch. If that happens, Republicans at the Capitol clearly have shown that they’ve learned nothing from Tuesday night. I urge people to talk to their Republican legislators and encourage them to change course.
President, Action 4 Liberty
Republican Majority Leader Joyce Peppin is set to retire from the Legislature according to the Star Tribune. Peppin has served seven terms in the Minnesota House and was elected by the Republican caucus as Majority Leader after Republicans took control of that chamber.
The news comes less than a week before the filing period for the August primary closes. Candidates who wish to replace Peppin have until 5 pm on June 5th to file with the Secretary of State or Country Elections office. House District 34A, the area she represents, spans the cities of Rogers and Maple Grove. A map of the district can be seen here.