Sen. Kiffmeyer's Column

Mary Kiffmeyer
Late last week, Minnesota Management and Budget released the state's November budget forecast numbers.  The forecast shows that Minnesotans are being overtaxed with a new forecasted budget surplus of $1.086 billion. 
It should be no surprise that we have such a hefty surplus since Gov. Dayton raised taxes $2.1 billion this year.  These budget numbers clearly show that he went too far. 
I strongly believe it is time to roll back some of the new tax increases and return that money to the hard working taxpayers who paid it in the first place. I will work in this upcoming "unsession" to undo the laundry list of burdensome taxes and undo unnecessary regulations. 
My primary focus will be on the following: 
- Repeal the farm and business equipment repair tax.
-Repeal the warehouse storage tax
-Reinstate the tax exemption on telecommunication equipment. 
With the Dec. 23 deadline for enrolling in MNSure just four days away and with the sudden resignation of MNSure executive director April Todd Malmlov, I continue to have concerns about the underlying policies and implementation of the Minnesota Obamacare/MN Sure/Daytoncare. 
I have fielded many calls from frustrated and confused constituents and even with our own efforts to get through, it is impossible!  
Quite a number have wasted hours waiting on the phone to get service and dealing with computer failures in the registration system.
As far as I know, no Minnesotan has received a healthcare card in the mail for use after January 1, 2014 and without that official confirmation, the BIG question hangs....are you covered? 
Gov. Dayton, as the state's chief executive, is responsible. However, he has a habit of distancing himself from policy failures, claiming he did not know it was in the bill he signed and blaming others. 
Majority Leader Bakk and Speaker Thissen also have the responsibility of leadership positions to light a fire under the MNSure Oversight Committee – they haven’t met since Sept. 24. What is the purpose of oversight if the committee never meets?
I have strongly opposed this Obamacare/Dayton- care mandated program that limits consumer choices and injects more government control over your health care.   It is not getting more people covered with health insurance and  has not provided better quality care at a lowered cost. So what is the point?!
Minnesota has led the nation in the percentage of people covered and the quality of care for our citizens. 
We had MinnesotaCare for our working poor and the Minnesota Compre-hensive Health Association for the hard to insure.
Instead of dismantling our nation-leading system and putting us under a one-size-fits-all federal plan, we should focus on the original goal of improving access for the small percentage in Minnesota that did not have insurance.  I think Minnesota would do a much better job of improving health care access for more individuals by: allowing professional groups like NFIB organize, allowing Minnesotans to purchase health insurance over state lines, and making premium payments with pre tax dollars.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about MNSure or any other legislative issue.
State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer 123 State Office Building 100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155 Phone: 651-296-5655 E-mail address-


Mike Zdychnec, Executive Program Director for Healthcare Management at MN School of Business. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

JEN SCHUMACHER (far left), applauds as 15-year-old Matthew Trutna wins the 2015 Team Liam 5K Saturday. (Photos by Jennifer Edwards).

Kathleen R. Huber

DANCERS FROM JENNIFER’S DANCE CENTER will be performing at Disney World in Florida in October. Pictured (front row, left to right), are Grace Esselman, Lillian St. Jean, Sophia Gerou, Kailey Buchta, Rowan Payne and Hannah Oakes. Middle row are Amelia Cameron, Brianna Anthony, Jacqie Bengtson, Gianna Mitchell, Alex Dillion, Abby Yanke and Rose Curtis. Back row are Tori Ramert, Alexis Erickson, Sophia St. Ives, Tiana Link, Rachel Royseth, Kristian Kunkel, Brooklynn Bengtson, Nicole Bengtson and Kendall Luoma. Not pictured are Haylee Oakes and Melanie Miskowic. (Submitted photo).

FIVE GIRLS FROM MARY OF THE VISITATION CHURCH’S YOUTH GROUP helped Gail Stanley (not pictured) of Big Lake pack her belongings for a move she was taking to Princeton last weekend. The girls are (from left to right): Bridget Buchholz, Jasmine Johnson, Michaela Manifold, Brittney Kostek and Josie Berger. (Photo by Bill Morgan)
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