Healthcare is critical to the wellbeing of all Minnesotans. We need to open up and offer MnCare to all individuals as a choice along side private plans that wish to compete in the individual market. Existing infrastructure like MnSure.org can be used to gather these individuals for group rate status and get them enrolled. To control costs, contracts need to be established directly with the providers to insure the providers are being well compensated and to cut out the man in the middle expenses. Eliminating networks and requiring all providers to participate would help spur competition in both the private and public insurance pools.
Maintaining a balanced budget is of vital importance and is simply put, a must do. As such, identify spending priorities before implementing tax cuts are a necessity to avoid “Crisis” situations. Budgeting for infrastructure improvements is a MUST in an economy that depends on the movement of good and people from the metro to northern board and beyond. Infrastructure must also include a Statewide fiber network project to bring fast reliable internet to all corners of this state. Transportation must be a long term plan for our roads, bridges, water treatment and even data networks, not just a bandaid solution when we happen to have a surplus. Identifying workforce needs and supporting businesses can revitalize struggling economies. One of the primary ways we can help people and help business is by separating healthcare from the workplace. Offering a public option, as mentioned above, would allow for worker mobility and reduce the strain on the healthcare cost load on businesses.
Today our public schools are having to address social gaps in the lives of kids and still prepare them for their future in a work environment. School budgets rely heavily on local property taxes, and that means some schools will have more resources and opportunities because of their location. Inadequate funding of education will directly impact the direction a children over their life time. Sometimes this results in low income, higher dependency and possible incarceration. Ultimately poor educational outcomes will be born by the taxpayer.
I believe it is more important (and less costly) to spend our tax money early in life. A good education promotes a desire to become a good citizen. A lack of good education not only hurts the child but their families, friends, communities and also affects society in general.
Funding Pre-K. In September of 2014 Minnesota rolled out its first, fully-funded, all-day Kindergarten. Thanks to the legislature, this was a giant educational leap forward for Minnesota’s children. Rural, as well as city five and six year olds had a chance to jump start their formal education. In 2015 first grade teachers were delighteded to see the level of student performance.
But learning begins a birth. We all know that babies learn at a phenomenal rate. They are naturally curious and strive to learn more and more. Who hasn’t heard a three year old ask “Why?” Two, three, and four year olds benefit greatly from pre-K programs. They are excited about learning and those who are fortunate enough to attend pre-K programs excel in Kindergarten and in higher grades. But many families can’t afford pre-K programs for their children. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in pre-K programs, $3 to $10 would be saved in the long-run. It would be a wise business decision on our part to invest in high-quality early education programs now for all kids.
I am a firm advocate of funding pre-K education and making it available to all, as part of the over all education we offer to our children. I will introduce and support legislation to fund pre-K legislation.
Restore Per-Pupil Formula Funding Mechanism.
Minnesota once lead the nation in per-pupil funding. The current formula hurts districts who are forced to reduce staff, increase fees and eliminate programs.* I will work to restore a reasonable formula that will help our rural schools.
Post Secondary Education
It seems that everyone knows a young person struggling to pay for college loans. The cost of post secondary education has grown to outweigh the benefit of higher wages for many students. Bank loans can claim the graduate’s discretionary spending for decades delaying home and auto purchases and reducing savings and investment. This crippling debt can also delay savings for their own children’s college education. These costs will be paid by the State over the life of the student in the form of less tax capacity, fewer business startups and a less qualified workforce for the new economy.
I propose we allow a pre-payment of credit hours direct from the State that can be redeemed at any time at any State Institution. Gain efficiency by bulk investing over individual family accounts. Students would be protected from inflation that would outpace their savings growth. Pre-purchase of credits would promote cost control. It would help State post secondary schools estimate future enrollment. Neighboring state students would be recruited to attend Minnesota State colleges. Families would be encouraged to gift credits to students. Purchased credits could be transferred to any accepted students. Students will be able to redeem their pre-paid credits upon acceptance to a State education school. Students may earn pre-paid education (PPE) credits in high school through performance or participation. I will work with both sides of the aisle to introduce and pass legislation to fix this iniquity.