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Local legislators know health care needs taxes

The Bemidji Pioneer's continuing, thorough coverage of the health and human services budget being formulated in St. Paul is commendable.

The articles which appeared in the May 12 edition report extremely courageous votes by Sens. Mary Olson and Rod Skoe and Reps. John Persell and Brita Sailer for tax increases and minimized cuts to hospitals and nursing home payments. I know their support of tax increases comes after considerable discussion and internal reflection, as no legislator wants to unnecessarily raise taxes. But, their interest in minimizing cuts to health care and other programs took precedence when contrasted with increased taxes. Taxes are inescapable and necessary for paying for the greater good.

The governor's current alternative to the Minnesota Senate's and House's proposed resolution to the state's budget gap is unrealistic and ugly. It will result in cuts that may never heal and clearly sets the state up for an even greater budget challenge in the 2012/2013 biennium.

I applaud our local senators and representatives.

Jim Hanko

President and CEO

North Country Health Services