House Republicans are moving forward with tax cuts they say are focused on middle-class Minnesotans, but accuse Governor Mark Dayton of proposing a large tax increase by continuing a medical services tax that’s scheduled to sunset. Glencoe Republican Glenn Gruenhagen says, “It is a tax increase, ’cause we’re extending it, and it hits the low- and middle-income people the worst.” Duluth Democrat Jennifer Schultz responds the provider tax funds essential health services for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. “What I think we need to answer for those Minnesotans is, how are we going to help them afford health care, where they can get primary care and get preventive care instead of just winding up in emergency rooms when they’re very sick?” she says.
The Dayton administration says the tax cut package Republicans are moving through the Minnesota House benefits wealthy families and businesses more than working Minnesota families. Tax Committee Chairman Greg Davids from Preston responds there’s “not much” business tax relief in the bill. “We tried to keep as much of the business money in the business area,” he says, “but nearly half of it is actually going over to the personal side — to the individual side, I should say.”
Republicans say the governor’s proposal to continue a tax on medical providers will hit low- and middle-income Minnesotans hardest. Democrats respond it funds MinnesotaCare which makes health care more affordable for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.