The 2019 legislative session came to a close over Memorial Day weekend with a one-day special session. The special session was needed in large part due to Democrats’ insistence on raising taxes by more than $12 billion over the next four years.
Thankfully, Senate and House Republicans held strong and were successful in defeating the vast majority of the Democrats’ audacious tax proposals (tax increases in a time of surplus are unheard of!). Despite this, it's a disappointment to report that the “sick” tax was reinstated as part of budget negotiations.
The sick tax is levied on most patient procedures including things like trips to the dentist, child birth, and chemotherapy treatments. In total, the sick tax will raise the cost of health care by over $2 billion the next four years.
I was proud to vote “no” on this immoral and unnecessary tax.
Here are a few items of note that I considered “wins” this session:
- First income tax rate cut in 20 years: the tax bill lowered the second-tier rate from 7.05% to 6.8% beginning in 2019, allowing most Minnesotans to keep more of their hard-earned money.
- No Gun Control: Thanks to bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate, none of Democrats' extreme gun control proposals survived in the final budget agreement.
- Extending Health Care Reinsurance: The final budget agreement extended reinsurance for two years, continuing a program that has proven to lower health care costs for families and become a national model that other states red and blue alike are following.
- No Nursing Home Cuts: Republicans fought Democrat-backed efforts to cut $68 million from nursing homes. These cuts would have devastated budgets for nursing facilities and harmed care for aging Minnesotans.
- No Gas Tax or Car Taxes: Republicans stood strong and blocked all of the Democrat-backed car tax increases, including the Governor's 70 percent increase to the gas tax.
- Cracking Down on Fraud: The final HHS bill included provisions to crack down on fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
- No ONEcare: Republicans defeated Governor Walz's ONEcare proposal, which would have hurt rural hospitals and was a next step toward a government takeover of health care.
- No Elections Policy: Democrat efforts to ram through controversial elections policy—breaking with the tradition of requiring bipartisan support for election measures—were halted as part of the final budget agreement.
Staying in Touch
While the 2019 legislative session is officially over, I encourage you to reach out to me to share your questions and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-2907 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,