Senate Report: Long-term care, tax relief  are big issues at Capitol in session

Published 8:45 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

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Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

It has been busy here at the Capitol as we are approaching the end of the first month of session! I have been focused on introducing legislation to get Minnesotans back on the right track. Some of the proposals put forward by myself and my colleagues include investing in our long-term care facilities, empowering parents with resources to guide their children’s education, creating safer communities and addressing rising inflation with the largest tax relief package in Minnesota history.

Gene Dornink

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Our long-term care facilities are on the brink of collapse. Most recently, 10 Olmsted and Winona Counties group homes are set to close on March 5, leaving the fate of dozens of vulnerable Minnesotans up in the air. These facilities continue to face stress as staffing shortages have ravaged the industry.

The long-term care rescue package put forward will keep the workers we have, increase workers in the field, and streamline government to better meet the needs of those served. It is estimated there are approximately 23,000 open positions in Minnesota’s long-term care industry, or 20% of the state’s total workforce. This crisis is further compounded by the closures of residential providers, like the ones in Olmsted and Winona counties, driving individuals to other facilities already facing staffing shortages. As a result, individuals face waiting lists and find themselves unable to access essential services. 

The Senate republicans passed SF 2677 with bipartisan support, which will pay off the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund debt and interest owed to the federal government and replenish the trust fund. Every dollar from the UI trust fund went directly to employees. Passing this bill takes care of the state’s responsibility to preserve and protect unemployment insurance without placing that burden on businesses, which would result in even higher prices on goods and services on hard-working families was of utmost importance. The bill will now have to pass the Democrat-controlled House before being signed by Gov. Tim Walz. In the meantime, the state is currently paying over $50,000 a day on interest charges to the federal government for the loan.  

This week, my colleagues and I introduced a proposal to provide permanent and meaningful tax relief for all Minnesotans. Minnesota is one of the highest taxed states in the country. Minnesota’s lowest tax bracket is higher than the highest tax bracket in 17 other states. With a massive budget surplus, this is a significant opportunity to fix our tax system and provide real relief to hard-working Minnesotans.

I am also excited that the tax relief proposal includes eliminating the Social Security Income tax ending the unfair tax on benefits our seniors have earned. As I have mentioned before, Minnesota is only one of 13 states that still tax Social Security Income. It is wrong that hard-working Minnesotans were taxed during their careers and are expected to pay taxes on that income again! 

It is important to note this will be permanent and ongoing relief. We will be working out the details in committee, and Senate Republicans will soon be passing it off the Senate floor. It will then go to the Democrat-controlled House, where it will need support before becoming law. More importantly, this is your money, and you deserve to keep it.

As the legislative session progresses, I will continue to keep you updated! I also want to hear from you on ways the state Legislature can help get you back on the right track. Send me an email at or give me a call at 651-296-5240. It’s my honor to serve you.


Gene Dornink, R-Hayfield, is the District 27 senator.