There are important features of the Affordable Care Act, which must be preserved. They include requiring health insurers to offer coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
We must also protect the Medicaid expansion and MinnesotaCare that have provided lifelines for 300,000 Minnesotans, as well as many rural hospitals and clinics. And parents should remain able to cover their children under their policies until they reach age 26.
It is also essential to protect the quality of coverage Minnesotans have gained under the Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare now requires that insurance plans must include 10 essential health benefits: outpatient care, hospitalization, maternity, pediatric care, mental health, emergency, preventive, laboratory, and rehabilitative services, and prescriptions.
Nevertheless, the Great Recession has had severe and lasting effects. Inflation-adjusted, real household income in Minnesota averages $68,730 today, which is 22% above the national average. However, it is 8% less than it was at the turn of the century. To repeat, the average Minnesota family is relatively poorer than sixteen years ago. From 2007 to 2015, the average real incomes of the richest 20% of Minnesotans increased. The average real incomes for everyone else fell. And the incomes of the wealthiest 5% increased the most of anyone.
No one has raised the state sales tax since 2008, except on tobacco. Nevertheless, some politicians still try to mislead Minnesotans into believing that I have raised their taxes. They also claim that more tax cuts are the keys to our future economic growth. In 1999 and again in 2000, Minnesota's elected leaders tried just that. Yet, cutting Minnesota's income taxes did not noticeably boost the state's economy, either before the Great Recession, or during it. What those lower tax rates did do, however, was to drive the State Budget into severe and lasting deficits. NO, low taxes have never been Minnesota's path to prosperity. Instead, it is the public investments we have made with those tax revenues--that have been the keys to our citizens' better standards of living.
Roads, highways, and public transit are to our state's economy, like arteries to the human body. If the arteries are healthy and efficiently transport blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body, everything works at its best. If, however, the arteries become decrepit or clogged, the body's performance suffers.
Minnesota is at a critical juncture with its transportation systems. Our investments are inadequate to maintain even their current conditions, much less to expand them. My transportation funding proposal would not only generate that $6 billion of additional revenues for state highway projects; it would also provide an additional $2.8 billion over the next decade for improvements.
The above quotations are from 2017 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts from 2017 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts by Mark Dayton.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
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