ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House concluded the 2018 session on Sunday, passing a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for consideration.
“The House has focused on tax relief, funding for roads and bridges and student safety this session and that shows in the finished product we sent to the governor,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “I am proud of the legislation we approved and this really caps off a highly successful biennium by building on the historic achievements we gained last year. Legislators join Minnesotans throughout the state in urging the governor to enact these bills so the benefits can be realized.”
The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Dayton. The federal conformity plan protects taxpayers, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years. It also makes available more than $225 million to help students – nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, provides new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
Earlier Sunday, the House sent a supplemental budget bill to the governor’s desk. It contains shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
The House also approved a higher education Nornes authored, featuring $3 million in additional funding and other provisions such as student loan counseling, a textbook affordability initiative and student loan debt counseling.
Nornes said improved school safety and student mental health were top priorities for the House this year. The bonding bill passed Sunday night brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million – double the amount proposed by Dayton.
The House also advanced an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonding to fund construction projects throughout the state.
The bills sent to the governor build on what Nornes called the tremendously successful accomplishments from the 2017 session that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.
The compromise proposals await action by Dayton in the coming days.