Neighbors and Friends,
I am co-hosting a town hall with Rep. Debra Hilstrom and Senator Chris Eaton on Saturday morning, April 1st at 10:00 a.m. at the Brooklyn Center Community Center in the Cohen Room. These are great events for me to hear directly from you about your concerns and I hope you can attend. Your input is valuable to me. Here are the full details.
WHAT: Legislative Town Hall Meeting
WHO: State Rep. Debra Hilstrom, Rep. Michael Nelson, Sen. Chris Eaton, interested members of the community
WHEN: Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 a.m. to noon
WHERE: Brooklyn Center Community Center, Cohen Room, 6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
I am also conducting my 2017 legislative survey right now which you can take by clicking the link here. I appreciate your feedback.
Our third committee deadline is Friday and there will be a flurry of activity in committees and on the House floor this week. Many visitors from the district have also been stopping in to discuss various issues. Here is an update from the Capitol:
House Omnibus Bills
The House is taking up the Omnibus Tax and Environment bills on Thursday, and the Omnibus Education and Transportation bills Friday. These bills fund specific issue areas.
Right now, the House is debating the Omnibus Tax bill. Unfortunately, House Republicans are prioritizing big tax cuts for businesses and the rich in their bill instead of most Minnesotans. Benefiting millionaires, the tax bill includes a $161.7 million estate tax cut for the wealthiest Minnesotans. The bill also includes property tax cuts for corporations and businesses instead of homeowners and renters.
Instead of this approach, we should put Minnesotans first with targeted tax cuts that will make taxes fairer for everyone in order to improve economic opportunities in every corner of the state.
The Omnibus Environment bill is also expected to be debated later today. Despite a budget surplus, the bill cuts $94 million that protects Minnesota’s air, water, and outdoor spaces. Minnesota is lucky to have abundant natural resources, but we can’t take them for granted. Instead, we should be investing to maintain our environmental resources for the next generation of Minnesotans.
On Friday, the House will also take up the Omnibus Transportation bill. The proposal fails to invest in Minnesota’s transportation needs now and into the future, inadequately addressing the need for long-term investment in roads and bridges, and creating road blocks to fully funding light rail and bus lines. The bill pits the Metro against Greater Minnesota, failing to take a “One Minnesota” approach to invest in transportation statewide. Neglecting Minnesota’s transportation needs is unsafe and will cost Minnesotans more money in the long run. That’s why I’m advocating for a long-term, sustainable solution that improves Minnesota’s roads, bridges, and transit.
The Omnibus Education bill is also expected on the Floor Friday. The education bill would underfund our schools—likely amounting to cuts that could result in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and less resources for our kids. The bill also eliminates the voluntary pre-K program and phases out its funding, hurting Minnesota’s youngest learners.
Our top priority should be providing a quality education for all Minnesota kids, but unfortunately, this bill will make it harder for them to succeed. Education has made Minnesota a leader, but we won’t continue to lead with cuts to kids’ futures.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Michael V. Nelson