House Republicans delivered five pieces of legislation Thursday on areas the new majority has long promised to address: Tax cuts; MNSure; roads and bridges; education reform; and, assistance to long term care facilities.
Republicans chose not to scrap MNSure altogether or eliminate the fourth income tax bracket passed in 2013, focusing on targeted changes.
The first bill would offer an array of tax cuts for businesses.
That bill would also offer businesses regulatory relief by reducing the time it takes to get environmental permits and give the Legislature more authority to override agency rules it deems overly burdensome.
The education plan would favor merit over seniority in the case of layoffs and make changes to licensure.
A bill on long term care would give incentives for people to work at nursing facilities and create programs for people to save for their long term care needs.
Republicans would take $200 million of the proposed surplus and put it into roads and bridges.
The Republican bill on MNsure would effectively lower the salary for the executive director at the state’s health insurance exchange, and prevent the MNsure board from providing bonuses to top MNsure managers.
The MNsure bill also would seek a waiver from federal rules, so that Minnesotans could obtain federal tax credits when buying coverage in the off-exchange market. Currently, subsidies are limited to individuals who purchase coverage through MNsure.
In remarks after the Republican news conference, DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen said House Democrats had left the state in fine shape, with a strong economy and fiscal outlook. He said Republicans were squandering an opportunity to move Minnesota forward, instead offering special interest tax breaks and "half a band-aid" for transportation.