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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

We are in the midst of a second special session of the summer after the House adjourned from the regular session May 17th. The state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic largely has dominated the Legislature’s work this year.

In addition to the Legislature’s response to COVID-19, I am proud of our work last year to protect the pocketbooks of hardworking Minnesota families.

While issues such as capital investment, tax relief and public safety reform remain works in progress this summer, here is an overview of the current biennium:

Taxes

In 2019, the budget put forward by the House majority and Governor Walz included more than $12 billion in tax increases making gas, health care, and everyday goods and services more expensive for Minnesota families. Their proposal would have increased the tax burden on families of every income level. Fortunately, Republicans stood strong and were able to defeat all new tax increases, including numerous transportation hikes:

  • GAS TAX - Governor Walz proposed a massive 70% increase—20 cents per gallon—to Minnesota’s gas tax that would have vaulted Minnesota into the top five in the nation. Republicans stood strong and defeated the Governor’s gas tax hike.
  • LIGHT RAIL TAX - Democrats pushed a huge sales tax increase in the Metro area aimed at funding transit including billion dollar light rail boondoggles. This unnecessary tax increase was also dropped as part of the final budget agreement.
  • TAB TAX INCREASE - Paying your tab fees each year is already expensive enough. Democrats sought to add more than $1,000 to your tab costs over the life of your vehicle, which would have cost motorists over a billion dollars over four years.

House Republicans will continue to stand up for Minnesota taxpayers and fight to protect your wallets from these unnecessary tax increases.

COVID-19

The Legislature appropriated more than $550 million and approved numerous procedural changes aimed at managing Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes providing $20.9 million for a contingency account to address immediate needs and delivering $200 million for health care provider grants for ongoing efforts to prepare and respond to the pandemic.

  • Funding to expand hospital capacity and protect front-line workers.
  • Assistance for small businesses, farmers, and families.
  • Accountability measures to ensure tax dollars aren’t wasted.

Income tax cut

For the first time in twenty years, Minnesotans will see a reduction in their income tax rates. The second income tax tier will drop from 7.05% to 6.8%, putting more money in Minnesotan’s paychecks. In addition, federal conformity will reduce the headaches and make filing simple next tax season. This is great news for Minnesota’s middle-class taxpayers.

Standing strong for the Second Amendment

Republicans led the charge against gun-control proposals that would have restricted the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Thanks to bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate, these proposals were defeated and there were no gun control bills passed this session.

No cuts to nursing homes

Despite billions in proposed tax hikes, a $68 million in harmful cuts to nursing homes was proposed. These cuts would have hurt care for our aging loved ones, and made it even harder for facilities to keep their doors open. House Republicans fought these harmful cuts all session long, and fortunately they were not included in the final budget agreement.

Fighting Fraud

House Republicans were leading voices in the effort to stop fraud in Minnesota’s childcare program. While there’s still more work to do, the final budget agreement included important steps to begin cracking down on fraud and ensure your tax dollars are being respected—not going to fraudsters.

It has been an honor to represent you, your family, and our community in the Minnesota House of Representatives during this, my 12th and last term in the House. While I am retiring as your legislator, I remain committed to ensuring the interests and values of our community are well represented in St. Paul these next few months, particularly during this series of special sessions.

That said, we are now reaching the 60th day since the regular 2020 session adjourned, at which point legislators are prohibited from sending email updates such as this until after the November election. Individual correspondence will continue to be permitted, of course, so please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Sincerely,

Bud

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