MN House GOP outlines plans to help seniors

Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, unveiled a legislative package called the Caring for the Aging, Retiring and Elderly Act during a news conference. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

Republicans in the Minnesota House say they're planning to make senior citizens a priority for the 2016 session.

A group of GOP lawmakers outlined tax cuts and other legislative proposals Monday that they call the Caring for the Aging, Retiring and Elderly (CARE) Act.

The package includes the phase-out of the social security income tax, which was part of last session’s House tax bill. It would also allow seniors the flexibility to use life insurance policies to pay for long-term care and encourage the training of more certified nursing assistants.

The proposals would help make Minnesota a more senior-friendly state, according to Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne.

“These bills are the result of months of work on researching ideas, meeting with stakeholders and learning what other states are doing that we should be doing as well,” Schomacker said. “Our objective with the CARE Act is to have Minnesota seniors and their loved ones suffer fewer sleepless nights.”

The social security exemption would have a first-year cost of at least $39 million, with the amount growing through the phase-out. Schomacker, who chairs the House Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, did not have cost estimates for the other proposals.

Schomaker said the package of proposals builds on last session’s effort to increase funding for nursing homes across the state.

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