State spending on programs for the poor, elderly and disabled has climbed more than 40 percent in the past decade and is expected to top $7 billion next year. Republicans in the Minnesota Senate say if it doesn’t level off, there won’t be enough money left in the state budget to adequately fund other priorities like public schools and roads. “If we continue on this trajectory, we’ll have little else to choose,” said Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, who chairs the Senate health and human services committee. The Senate was expected to approve a health and human services budget Tuesday that trims spending to rein in projected growth. It includes a freeze on the Child Care Assistance Program to investigate fraud, reducing the Department of Human Services’ administrative budget to 2016 levels and eliminating the 2 percent tax on health care providers. In contrast, House Democrats backed a budget that would add spending and new programs. It includes expanding MinnesotaCare to provide a public option health care plan called OneCare. State Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, who chairs the House health and human services committee, called the Senate proposal unfair and unrealistic. “These cuts would be bad enough, but their numbers… Read full this story
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