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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Linda Runbeck (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Linda Runbeck

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

The end of the 2018 legislative session has brought with it a mix of good news and bad news. The good news came today with the Governor's announcement that he would sign the bonding bill, a bill providing roughly $1.5 billion of investment in various public works projects. The bill culminated one year of site visits and hearings by the House Capital Investment Committee of which I'm a member. I'm grateful the Governor signed the bill realizing how essential it was to reduce the backlog of "asset preservation" needs that were piling up.

Projects which will benefit from the funds include water treatment facilities, school safety enhancements, Minnesota Zoo improvements, state university campus upgrades such as at Bemidji, Mankato and Moorhead, U of M facilities, state parks and trails, prison repairs and renovation, Second Harvest Food Bank expansion, the Fort Snelling Visitor Center and many more. There is also $400 million for MnDOT's Corridors of Commerce program for freeway, road and bridge expansions and improvements.

Unfortunately, there is also the bad news which is that Governor Dayton vetoed both the tax/education bill and a supplemental finance bill containing hundreds of needed policy provisions.

Our tax conformity plan protected taxpayers, simplified Minnesota's tax code, and provided the first income tax rate cut in nearly two decades. The bill’s education component made available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor repeatedly requested, providing new money and flexibility for schools to address budget shortfalls.

The supplemental finance bill contained a number of shared priorities with the governor like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a 7 percent cut to the wages of caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.

The Governor's vetoes leave millions of Minnesotans tosuffer the consequences of his actions.

This is extremely disappointing and concerning especially because the legislature had worked hard to reach agreement and compromise with the governor. In fact, the legislature removed nearly 70 percent of policy items the governor had objected to, meeting him well over halfway.

Here is a brief list of just a few of the groups of people that will be adversely impacted by the governor’s veto:

  • Victims of elder abuse & opioid addiction – vetoed fixes for these problems areas
  • Victims of distracted driving – vetoed strengthening penalties
  • People with disabilities, and their caretakers – vetoed fix to federal 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System
  • Citizens & deputy vehicle registrars – vetoed help with dealing with MNLARS hassles
  • K-12 students – vetoed school safety funding, support for Head Start and Special Education programs
  • Minnesota Taxpayers – vetoed a fix that was fair to everyone, now a large number of Minnesotans will see major increased in their next year’s state income tax bill
  • Low-income working families – vetoed state help on federal child care subsidies
  • Patients – vetoed transparent pricing for health care and prescription drugs
  • Businesses and farmers – vetoed Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation

As you can see, the consequences are vast. Sadly, the issues will not be addressed again until session begins early next January.

Staying in Touch

As we move into summer, please know that I am always avalibale to chat about matters related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-2907 or via email at rep.linda.runbeck@house.mn.

Have a great day!

Linda

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