Minnesotans were left in the dark for the last week as the legislative process in the state boiled down to three key players meeting behind closed doors: Governor Walz, Senator Paul Gazelka and Speaker Melissa Hortman. The goal of the secret meetings was to come to a compromise deal then push those items into conference committee bills in less than a day for a quick vote on the Senate and House floors.
As one can imagine, taxpayers in Minnesota did not fare well in these secretive talks. The infamous provider tax, which is assessed when sick people receive care, was re-upped at 1.8%. It would represent a tax increase of over $1.2 Billion in the upcoming biennium. Senate Republicans spent the last year talking about how awful the tax is, only to cave on their no new tax pledge.
In exchange for the tax on the sick, Republicans got a relatively minuscule tax rate reduction for the middle income tax bracket. Tax filers currently paying 7.05% on income will see that reduced to 6.75%. Of course, any tax reduction is good in our book. But this new tax change does not go into effect until 2022.
The deal also apparently includes $500 Million of bonding debt that will go towards housing projects. Future Minnesota taxpayers will be left with the bill on this one.
Education spending will receive 2% annual increases in the next two years which appears to be a complete win for the Walz Administration. Add that to the current price tag of government for the next biennium which is being reported to be over $48 Billion. With revenues projected at $47.9 Billion, the whole surplus was spent and not given back to taxpayers.
In order to pay for the increase, the state government is going to tap into the massive budget reserves. Over $2 Billion of our tax money has been held in a reserve account for the last couple of years. Now Republicans and Democrats are tapping into that account to spend on their bloated government projects.
Another horrible part about the deal is that the health insurance bailout program (Reinsurance) has been renewed for another two years. This was one of the biggest items Republicans fought for which is also something Angie Craig and Amy Klobuchar support at the federal level. It uses taxpayer money to bailout insurance companies on medical claims over $50,000.
Thanks to thousands of angry voters and activists, the awful gas tax increase was killed in its entirety. Walz wanted to increase that tax by 70%, but the tax was widely unpopular and Republicans were forced to side with taxpayers and voters on that issue despite Senators like Jason Rarick saying he would support a modest increase.
What we don't know: Fraudulent child care program funding. We assume that the Child Care Assistance Program received full funding in the budget deal, but we won't know until the HHS Conference Committee later in the day. We'll keep you informed.
The final deal will manifest into law by being added to the Omnibus bills in the conference committees. Those bills will be fast-tracked and sent to the two chambers for a final vote where legislators will have an agreement not to hold up the process with amendments. There won't be enough time today to make it all work, so we're likely to see a one to two day special session later in the week.
Action 4 Liberty thinks Minnesotans got a bad deal on this one. Instead of shrinking government, giving back the surplus and reducing taxes, Senate Republicans did the exact opposite. The only way to stop this monstrosity at this point is to tell your Senator to vote against the spending bills and tax increases. In particular, bonding debt bills require 60% of the legislature for passage.
The Republican controlled Minnesota Senate just passed a Continuing Appropriations bill that would increase state government spending by 6.5%and fully fund the fraudulent child care program. This bill was their gimmick to keep government's "lights on" in case negotiations break down between Gazelka and the Governor.
Here's the vote:
Instead of introducing a bill that freezes spending for the next two years, the Senate Republicans' bizarre approach was to use the State Economist's forecast numbers which grows state spending by nearly $2 Billion.
On top of that, since the bill does not direct the surplus funds, it would mean that the surplus remains in the government coffers for future spending. What about their Continuing Appropriations bill should conservatives be excited about?
Action 4 Liberty strongly opposed the passage of this bill. We expect legislators to defund the fraudulent child care program and start shrinking the size and scope of government.
The skies are getting darker over the Capitol as the 2019 Legislative Session winds down. After four months of legislative work, the whole law-making process boils down to negotiations between Governor Walz, Speaker Melissa Hortman and Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. And these negotiations are happening behind closed doors.
We know the Republican Senate is rushing a bill to fund government operations for the next two years to the Senate floor this afternoon. This Continuing Appropriations bill would fund the fraudulent child care program in its entirety.
Action 4 Liberty has demanded that Senate Republicans stick their heals in the swamp mud when negotiating with Governor Walz to defund the fraudulent program. Yesterday we delivered 12,000 of your petitions to end the fraud.
Thanks to the generosity of the thousands of supporters of Action 4 Liberty, we were able to fund a second flight to bring important attention to this issue. $100 Millionof fraudulent child care claims are being stolen from taxpayers in this state and flown in suitcases of cash to Somalia. Now everyone traveling the major metro corridors heading home for the weekend or up to the cabin will see our message.
Senate Tax Committee Chair Roger Chamberlain introduced a provision yesterday that would fund state government operations for the next two years at current projected spending levels in case a deal isn't reached by the Governor and Senator Gazelka in the next 3 days. The Continuing Appropriations provisionwould amend HF 2032 in a fashion similar to the continuing resolutions that the federal congress has been employing for the last decade.
This bill would not freeze spending, despite what some people might be led to believe. It actually grows the government by 6.5% because it uses the February Economic Forecastof upcoming biennium spending. Often times legislators say that our state has automatic spending increases. But this is obviously not the case since a bill like this is needed to avert a government shutdown.
How do we calculate this number? The February Report forecasts that upcoming biennium spending would be $47.4 Billion, but it would also leave a $1 Billion budgetary surplus. That means the government would hold on to that amount for future spending and not give it back to taxpayers.
Since the Republican Senate has failed us tremendously this year in keeping campaign promises to shrink the size and scope of government, Chamberlain's bill would appear to be the best deal on the table. However, the bill as written, would fully fund the fraudulent child care program for the next two years and would ensure the budget surplus does not go back to taxpayers.
We flew this banner over the Capitol on Monday to tell Republican Senators to end the fraudulent child care program. Yesterday we delivered 12,000 petitions as well.
$100 Million of your money is being stolen through fraudulent child care claims and sent in suitcases of cash overseas. One year ago this week, Fox 9 broke the story.
We say ENOUGH is ENOUGH! End the fraudulent child care program now! Help us get the message out again by chipping in $9 to help us fly the banner today.
Don’t think they are paying attention? The HHS Conference Committee chair watched our aerial banner out of her Senate office window.
We just delivered 12,000 of your petitionsto the Governor and legislators that say "End the Fraudulent Child Care Program". Right now, Governor Walz, Senator Gazelka and Speaker Hortman are meeting behind closed doors deciding the spending priorities for the next two years. They are on the cusp of funding this massively fraudulent program with your tax dollars.
$100 Million of the $250 Million annual program is going towards fraudulent child care claims. There is no accountability at the Department of Human Services, therefore there is no way to protect our dollars other than to end the program.
Action 4 Liberty believes that programs like the Child Care Assistance Program that has rampant fraud need to be defunded. On top of that, paying for people's child care is not a proper role of the state government. Tell your legislator to end the fraudulent child care program now.
Tuesday, May 14th - Legislators from both the House and Senate are going through the massive HHS Omnibus bill in conference committee this week as the 2019 Legislative Session winds down. Monday is the mandatory date for adjournment at the Capitol.
Action 4 Liberty is staying on top of the proceedings at the Capitol, but we want to equip you to follow what's going on as well.
HHS Omnibus Bill Link: HF 2414
Conference Committee Schedule & Video: Click here
At this stage, the Democrats plan to fully fund the fraudulent child care program in the upcoming biennium to the tune of $232 Millionof your tax money. The Republican Senate wants to fund it by $105 Million. Although they don't fund it in FY 2021, we believe they are going to give into the Democrats in the conference committee.
We say the program should be defunded and shut down now. Funding people's child care is not a proper role of the government and the only way to truly end the fraud, is by removing the program.
$100 Million of YOUR money is being stolen through the fraudulent child care program and flown to Somalia in bags of cash. How do you feel about that?
Well, Action 4 Liberty is not fine with it - which is why we are flying a banner right now over the Minnesota Capitol, the chair of the HHS Committee’s district and the chair of the Human Services Reform Committee’s district.
Our message is simple. HEY GOP: END CHILD CARE FRAUD!
You see, it’s up to Republicans in the Senate to do something about this issue. Democrats in the House have shown their true colors. They have no plans to go after the fraud out of fear of being labeled “islamophobic” or “racist” because the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has defined the issue this way.
But $100 Million of stolen taxpayer money should be a concern to everyone, regardless of race, religion or political party.
Republicans are the last best hope to end this fraudulent program. They have a 3-person majority in the Minnesota Senate.
But we have just learned that Senate Republicans are about to cave to the Democrats and fully fund the fraudulent Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) in the next two-year budget.
We say END THE PROGRAM NOW!
It’s the not the role of the state government to fund people’s child care in the first place. In fact, it’s not even an enumerated power given to our elected officials in the state Constitution.
On top of that, the only way to ensure our tax money is not stolen in the future is to cut the head off the snake. If Democrats get their way, more fraudulent claims will be processed - and more of your dollars will be sent overseas!
That’s why we are flying our banner in Minnesota. We are bringing awareness to thousands of Minnesotans about this important issue.
Can you help us fly the banner again? Chip in $10, $25, $50, $100 or moreto help get our plane back up in the air in this last week of the 2019 Legislative Session.
The only way to get these Republican Senators to act is if they see our message. In these last few days of session, online messages would be lost - but who can ignore a plane towing a banner talking directly to THEM?
We are going to promote our message by dominating the sky over the Capitol. And you can help us with that.
Please consider helping with a gifttoday and let’s get our plane back up in the air.
The Management and Budget office release a reporttoday showing that the Minnesota state government took in $573 Million more in revenue this year than was originally forecasted. This means, the high taxes in this state continue flowing into our state coffers while politicians at the Capitol look for ways to spend the money.
Message to Democrats: There is no need to raise our taxes on gasoline or extend the provider tax when our state has this much money.
Message to the Republican Senate: Stop creating new fees and start reducing the high taxes in this state so Democrats can't spend more of our money!