Letter: Eliminating SSI tax is short-sighted, irresponsible

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I cared for our area’s seniors for two decades as a doctor for older patients. I saw people stay too long in their homes without adequate home care, unable to afford the cost of senior housing. People made difficult choices between buying food and medications. And our rural seniors face a crisis with closures of clinics, leaving many without the transport they need to more distant health care sites.

Sen. Carla Nelson believes the best way to address these rising costs and challenges is by eliminating the tax on Social Security income. But she isn’t being honest about who would benefit: 72 percent of the cut would go to the wealthiest, to those making more than $75,000 a year — before income from Social Security is even added. Nearly 60 percent of households currently pay no taxes on Social Security income. She’s using the current surplus as an excuse to create a permanent, irresponsible hole in our budget.

With our state surplus, we could ease the burdens for seniors and families by funding the building of affordable senior housing, supporting greater access to rural healthcare services, and increasing pay for eldercare workers, attracting people to this essential work. We could give those taking a job leave to care for older family members, risking the loss of a paycheck, the security of paid leave.

A tax cut for the wealthy is not the solution that gives our seniors and families economic security. Instead, it puts the support they need farther out of reach.

Aleta Borrud, Rochester

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