On Tuesday, Governor Dayton and DFL legislative leaders held a press conference to talk about middle class investments made in the Minnesota state budget
The budget passed by Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature puts fairness back in the system. It strengthens Minnesota’s middle class and our economy by lowering property taxes and making investments in education and job creation to move Minnesota forward.
The budget closes the deficit for the long term and makes spending cuts and reforms. It pays for new investments in education and job creation by asking the richest 2% of Minnesotans to pay their fair share and closing corporate tax loopholes.
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Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of a seven-member board responsible for managing and operating MNsure – a new health insurance marketplace where Minnesotans can choose quality, affordable health insurance. The board, which was established by law earlier this legislative session, was chosen through the state’s open appointments process from a pool of 112 candidates. Board members will serve staggered four-year terms. With the exception of the Commissioner of Human Services, all members are limited to two terms of service.
“The individuals chosen to serve on this board represent a broad diversity of experience and expertise,” said Governor Dayton. “Their collective breadth of knowledge, and each board member’s shared commitment to the successful development and delivery of this new health care marketplace, will serve the best interests of all Minnesotans.”
According to state law, membership on the board must include representation from outside the seven-county Metro area. One of the six members must have experience representing the needs of vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities. All appointed members of the board have demonstrated that they do not have any conflicts of interest. Board members appointed today by Governor Dayton include:
Thompson Aderinkomi , Founder and CEO, RetraceHealth. Mr. Aderinkomi has more than 14 years of experience helping health care organizations use their data effectively. Currently, he is the founder and CEO of RetraceHealth, which is an innovative technology provider that delivers primary care services to members. He began his career managing the finance department of CareMate Home Healthcare. From there, he performed program evaluations, created predictive models, and studied health insurance reimbursement for Ingenix (which is now Optum Health) and Medica Health Plans. In 2009, Aderinkomi co-founded Evidity, which is a health-care data analytics firm that serves the physician market. He is also serves as the board chair for WATCH MN, a domestic abuse monitoring agency, and as a board member of Youthprise, an education focused group working to increase the quality, accessibility, sustainability, and innovation of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.
Pete Benner, Independent Consultant. Mr. Benner is a consultant on health care, labor relations, and public policy. Prior to consulting, he worked for many years with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Benner is the former Executive Director of AFSCME Council 6, where he was the lead negotiator with the State of Minnesota in designing the insurance benefits for state employees and their families. He also sat on many boards and commissions relating to health care including: Minnesota Health Care Access Commission, Minnesota Health Care Commission, Minnesota Citizen’s Forum on Health Care Costs, Governor’s Health Care Transformation Task Force, Governor’s Health Care Reform Task Force, Minnesota Community Measurement, and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.
Brian Beutner, CEO, mPay Gateway. Mr. Beutner is a consultant working with start-ups and their founders as they try to expand their innovative concepts into viable businesses. Until April 2013, Mr. Beutner was the CEO of mPay Gateway, a venture-banked healthcare software company that has developed financial products and services to support healthcare payments. In the past, Mr. Beutner spent seven years with UnitedHealth Group working in various capacities, including General Counsel of UnitedHealthcare. At UnitedHealth Group, he helped found its financial services business and chartered Exante Bank, now Optum Health Bank, which is the first successful bank built by a healthcare company. Mr. Beutner previously served as General Counsel of Jostens and practiced law with Oppenheimer Wolff and Donnelly. Beutner served as an adjunct professor at Hamline University Law School, where he created and taught courses on business and healthcare. He currently serves on the Hamline University School of Law Health Law Institute Advisory Board. Mr. Beutner previously served on the board of directors of the Courage Center Foundation; the foundation is a supporting organization to the Courage Center.
Kathryn Duevel, OBGYN, Affiliated Community Medical Care (retired). Dr. Duevel is an OBGYN physician. She worked at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar, Minnesota for more than 20 years until June 2012. In addition to her MD degree from the University of MN, she has a Master of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College. Dr. Duevel was previously a member of the executive board of the MN ACOG(American College of OBGYN) and Rice Memorial Hospital's Medical Staff Executive Committee while also serving as Vice Chief of Staff and Credentials Chair. She currently leads Rice Memorial Hospital’s OB Patient Safety Committee and was a founding board member for the Kandiyohi Area Family YMCA. She has served as a volunteer physician with the Remote Area Medical Women’s Health Program in Guyana, South America and African Medical Mission in South Africa.
Tom Forsythe, Vice President of Global Communications, General Mills. Mr. Forsythe has worked for General Mills for the past 22 years, where he is currently Vice President of Global Communications. He has served as a board member of Twin Cities Public Television, Twin West Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota State University Board, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, where he also served for a year as Chairman of the Board. In 1991, Forsythe worked on behalf of the business community advancing health care reform, including the legislation that created Minnesota Care. Forsythe was later appointed by Governor Arne Carlson to the Minnesota Health Care Commission, and by Governor Tim Pawlenty to the Minnesota Health Care Transformation Task Force, where he advocated for market-based, consumer-oriented health care.
On Earth Day this year it is especially noticeable how polar our planet can be. Unseasonable temperatures last year gave way to one of the wettest, coldest, and longest, springs this year. While this could be interpreted as Mother Nature’s cruelty, it’s more a sign of our planet’s fragility.
While the MPCA stresses “Every day is Earth Day”, April 22 is the one time a year that everyone should take notice of our environment. For those hoping to celebrate proactively, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has 5 ways you can go a little greener this year.
An estimated 1.3 million Minnesotans will benefit from legislation recently signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton, including nearly 300,000 Minnesotans who are currently uninsured. The bill establishes a new marketplace where Minnesotans can choose quality, affordable health coverage, and will save Minnesota families and businesses an estimated $1 billion in health care costs by 2016. Explore the infographic below to learn how the new MNsure marketplace will benefit Minnesota.
Minnesota state agencies are eliminating the use of a harmful chemical in their offices found in several household cleaning products. Through Executive Order by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in April, 2011, all state agencies will no longer purchase hand soaps and dish and laundry cleaning products that contain triclosan by June of this year. State agencies are required to implement plans to reduce pollution and toxics, increase energy efficiency, and conserve resources.
The Interagency Pollution Prevention Advisory Team (IPPAT) has the ability make changes to the Model Sustainability Plan within Governor Dayton’s Executive Order 11-13. The state recently developed contracts for hand soap and dish and laundry cleaning products that are triclosan-free. In some situations, uses of triclosan-containing products may be allowed in medical or other specific settings.
Triclosan is antibiotic resistant and causes health and environmental problems. It is an ingredient in products such as hand soap, toothpaste, cleaning products, fabric, toys, kitchenware and industrial pesticides. There is no evidence that triclosan provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Triclosan-free products are readily available in many stores.
“By purchasing items without triclosan, state agencies are doing their part to keep this harmful chemical out of Minnesota waters,” said Cathy Moeger, sustainability manager at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Today, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh were joined by a group of mayors and county commissioners at a Capitol news conference urging legislators to support Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to increase Minnesota’s investment in transit.
Joining Rybak, Coleman, and Haigh were Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire, West St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller, Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, Savage Mayor Janet Williams, and Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris. In their words, Governor Dayton’s transit plan: "would create a 21st century transit system in Minnesota, which is critical for job creation, economic prosperity and our ability to be globally competitive."
This afternoon, Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller will meet with college students in Winona to discuss student debt, and Governor Dayton’s plan to increase higher education funding – including $80 million in direct financial aid to students. The governor’s proposed investment in the Minnesota State Grant Program would help make college more affordable students like Rahel Theodros. Under the governor’s plan, Rahel would receive an additional $1,200 in direct student aid. More information about Rahel’s story is attached and below.
Later today, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson will visit with hospital administrators and medical professionals in St. Cloud. Commissioner Jesson will discuss health care investments in Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, and other strategies to reform Minnesota’s health care system.
In the News
Winona Daily News
William Mann: Budget proposal helps make college possible for some
As the president of Saint Mary’s University, one of the three institutions of higher education that call Winona home, I am compelled to speak for our students and families and commend Gov. Mark Dayton for making quality, affordable college education a priority in his most recent budget proposal.
Particularly meaningful among the priorities he has laid out is a 25 percent increase in funding for the Minnesota State Grant program. The state grant is a need-based state award which offers low- and middle-class students at Minnesota colleges or universities an annually renewable grant for tuition, books or living expenses while attending college. The program benefits students attending both public and private institutions of higher education.
The proposed increase to the state grant would help even more low- and middle-class families pay for college. According to the state Minnesota Office of Higher Education, current grant recipients would see their grants increase by an average of $300 per year. And 5,000 additional students would become eligible to receive grants. Many of these newly eligible recipients come from middle-class families that earn $50,000 or more per year and are ineligible for the federal Pell Grant.
At a news conference this morning, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, Richfield Mayor Debbie Goettel, Circle Pines Mayor Dave Bartholomay, and other Minnesota mayors urged legislators to pass Governor Dayton’s plan to stabilize local government aid and deliver property tax relief to Minnesota homeowners and businesses.
Over the last ten years, property taxes have gone up 86 percent, placing a huge burden on the middle class. The governor’s plan would deliver $1.4 billion in direct property tax relief to homeowners, increase aid to cities and counties by $120 million over the next two years. Businesses would also benefit from Governor Dayton’s plan. His budget freezes state property taxes for all businesses and cuts state business property taxes by 3.6 percent, or over $120 million through 2017. More information about these measures is outlined below.
Today in Duluth, DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben and Duluth Mayor Don Ness held a news conference to discuss Governor Dayton’s proposed $30 million investment in the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF).
MIF is one of the state’s key job creation tools. It helps encourage Minnesota firms that have options outside of the state to expand here, and provides incentives for businesses outside Minnesota to locate in our state. In recent years, MIF sustained an 86 percent budget cut which severely limited its impact in creating and retaining Minnesota jobs. The governor’s proposed reinvestment in the program will help create tens of thousands of jobs and leverage an estimated $990 million in private investment. More information about MIF is included below.
For additional details about the Governor’s budget, visit http://mn.gov/governor/budget/toolkit and follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.
In the News
Wadena Pioneer Journal
Minnesota expands health care for poor
Another 35,000 poor Minnesotans will get health care under a bill Gov. Mark Dayton signed Tuesday. The bill expands Medical Assistance, the state’s Medicaid program. The federally funded expansion would save $129 million in the next two-year budget, supporters say.
“Minnesotans who will be covered by this legislation desperately need better-quality health care,” Dayton said. “Instead of taking their health crises to emergency rooms, thousands of low-income children, families and individuals will be able to see doctors sooner and live healthier lives.”
State Rep. Tom Huntley added: “This legislation allows us to cover more Minnesotans with health insurance and at the same time get more bang for our buck for Minnesota taxpayers.”
The senior citizen advocacy group AARP praised the action. “We represent thousands of consumers who have either gone without health care for years because they didn’t qualify for coverage or have lost their health insurance during the economic downturn; they will benefit greatly from this expansion,” AARP Minnesota Director Michele Kimball said.