To the Editor:
In his recent letter to the editor, state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, opposes the sales tax plan on services, saying it would burden businesses. However, he didn't mention the burden that was created in 2011 by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Dayton. Called the 2011 Family Deductible Cost Sharing Requirement, this law cuts $2.55 from payments to Medical Assistance providers, which they in turn pass along to people with disabilities to pay.
Given the income earned by my two sons with disabilities, this is a 3 percent to 4 percent fee. This fee may be called cost-sharing, but it is really a tax on people who are low-income and don't have extra money to spare from their budgets.
If we are concerned about creating burdens, we should remove them first from those who are least able to bear them.
Rep. Gunther also says Gov. Dayton has not explained why Minnesota needs to spend $2.5 billion more over the next two years. People with disabilities, their allies and direct care staff here in southwest Minnesota could cite at least two reasons: 1) There shouldn't be any more cuts to services that help the poorest of the working poor and help people with disabilities contribute to and be part of their communities, and 2) it is time for a pay raise for staff who provide crucial support for people with disabilities and our nursing home residents.
Lee Ann Erickson