Ingebrigtsen: Childcare unionization gets re-vote
Editor's note: The following is a "Week in Review" legislative column from State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria.
We are approaching the final week of the legislative session in St. Paul. The constitutional deadline for adjournment is the first Monday after the third Saturday in May, which this year falls on Monday, May 20. The final week will be filled with a flurry of conference committees between the House and the Senate to resolve the differences in the bills
In addition to the budget, we've debated many policy issues at the Capitol so far including Democrat proposals that create more government overreach and bureaucracy. Just this week the Senate passed a bill that adds new energy mandates which will make utility costs more expensive and energy less reliable. We've also had bills pass the Senate this session that add a new sales tax to clothing, haircuts and other everyday items, create a bureaucratic Health Insurance Exchange that will increase healthcare costs, and lower standards for graduating high school students by eliminating the GRAD exams.
We've also seen an unwanted, unnecessary plan to unionize childcare providers that will make childcare more expensive and less accessible for families and taxpayers. All childcare providers should be able to provide quality, affordable services to parents without government interference or paying union dues, which will add to the overall cost of daycare.
Democrats are overtaxing, overspending, and overreaching and are NOT in the best interest of hardworking taxpayers. Democrat tax increases on all Minnesotans and increasing our state government overreach and bureaucracy by the proposed 8-10% won't create a healthier economy and it won't create jobs. We need to spend better, and go line-by-line through our state's budget to cut the waste. Hardworking taxpayers deserve it.
Few signs of progress made on the budget and tax proposals
With a little over a week remaining in the session, there are few signs of progress on the budget. The Governor and Democrat leaders have yet to agree on an overall spending plan and we have not completed any of the budget or tax bills needed. I'm disheartened Governor Dayton is not including Republicans in his closed-door meetings with House and Senate leaders to discuss the budget proposals.
The Senate and House tax proposals have some similarities, but also some differences. The Senate proposal calls for nearly $1.9 billion in increased income taxes, a new sales tax on clothing and other everyday items, as well as business and cigarette taxes. Alternatively, the House plan calls for an even larger $2.6 billion tax increase, and notably also includes alcohol tax increases not carried in the Senate bill.
Childcare provider unionization gets a RE-VOTE
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee passed SF 778, a bill that could result in the unionization of childcare providers and home healthcare workers. On Monday, the bill failed to pass out of committee by a vote of 11-11, with bipartisan opposition. However, following intervention from Democrat and labor union bosses, Democratic Senator Terri switched her vote, and the bill passed on a vote of 12-10. Several Senate committees passed this UNION-supported bill "without recommendation" after rejecting several Republican amendments to protect these private business owners and the families they serve. These amendments included allowing families to observe contract negotiations, exempting nonmembers from paying union dues, and notifying providers that their personal information would be given to unions. Under the bill, even daycare providers who choose not to join the union would still be forced to pay union fees, be subject to the terms and conditions negotiated by the union, and be effectively deemed employees of the state.
Minimum Wage passes the full Senate
The Democrats in the Senate passed a bill to increase the minimum wage paid by large employers from $6.15 to $7.25, which matches current federal law. The proposal then increases the minimum wage even more to $7.50 on August 1, 2014 and $7.75 on August 1, 2015.
Senate takes up the Energy Bill with increased costs and mandates
The Senate Finance Committee passed the Omnibus Energy Bill (SF901 - Marty). The bill includes $25 million in new subsidies for solar energy and a costly solar energy mandate that will impact ratepayers of all public utilities - Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power - in Minnesota.
Revised Transportation Bill passes the Tax Committee
On Wednesday, the Senate Tax Committee passed a more modest Transportation Finance Bill with mainly base-level appropriations. The proposed 7.5 cent gas tax increase and 3/4th percent sales tax increase in the Twin Cities area was removed from the bill.
Ingebrigtsen encourages constituent input, and can be reached at 651-297-8063, by mail at 143 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org