Heintzeman, GOP urge Gov. Walz to nix possible sick tax revival
State Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, and State Rep. John Poston, R-Lake Shore, joined fellow Minnesota House Republicans at a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 15, urging the new DFL House majority and Gov. Tim Walz not to raise health care costs on...
State Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, and State Rep. John Poston, R-Lake Shore, joined fellow Minnesota House Republicans at a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 15, urging the new DFL House majority and Gov. Tim Walz not to raise health care costs on Minnesotans by restoring the sick tax-a 2 percent tax levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits and more.
"This fall, Democrats and Gov. Walz spent time traveling the state, promising Minnesotans that they would lower the costs of health care," Heintzeman said in a news release. "Instead, they are proposing to raise health care taxes to the tune of $600 million per year. I am hopeful that with a $1.5 billion budget surplus we will bring desperately needed tax relief to Minnesotans instead of raising the costs of health care."
The tax, which was eliminated as part of bipartisan legislation passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Dayton in 2011, is set to expire starting Jan. 1, 2020.
In total, restoring the tax would result in a more than $600 million increase on health care costs for Minnesotans next year alone, according to Heintzeman's news release. Over the past week, Walz called it a "nonstarter" to end the tax, and DFL House Health and Human Services Finance Chair Tina Liebling said it was "essential" to restore the tax or replace its revenue.
"Proposing a $600 million tax increase on health care services when the state has a $1.5 billion surplus is irresponsible and unfair to Minnesota families," Poston said in a news release. "We should be spending our time and resources in St. Paul looking for ways to lower the costs of health care. Simply put, a $600 million tax on health care is not going to do it."