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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Gunther (R)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Legislature finished its business on May 20, ending session approving a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a supplemental budget plan, a bonding proposal, and pension legislation to the governor's desk.


“We heard the governor’s priorities and concerns, and addressed them in a way that we believe benefits all sides,” said State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont). “These are good bills we have approved, most of them with bipartisan support. I’m very hopeful Governor Dayton will sign them into law.”


The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Governor 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.


In the supplemental budget bill, House and Senate Republicans compromised with the governor—more than 60 percent of the objections raised by the governor were removed or amended, meeting him more than halfway. The bill 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.


A top priority for House Republicans this year was improved school safety and student mental health. The bonding bill passed Sunday night brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million—double the amount proposed by Governor Dayton.


House Republicans 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 majority of funding is dedicated to bricks-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, water infrastructure and statewide asset preservation. In addition, the bonding bill includes $32 million for the construction of new veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, as well as $10 million for the renovation of existing homes.


Gunther said the bills sent to the governor build on 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 Governor Dayton in the coming days.