On May 25th, we completed our state budget. Though we won't return until February 11th, I look forward to working with our community year-round to make our state a better place to live.
By working across the aisle and building positive relationships with our Republican Senators, I proudly sent the long-awaited $6.6 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding to the Governor's desk. In the State Government bill, we also passed provisions to keep voters' political party private when voting in primaries without their neighbors, bosses, and strangers knowing their political preference. We fully supported the Department of Veterans' Affairs' funding requests to take care of the needs of those who have served our country.
Below is a brief overview of a few of the major budget areas we passed. If you want to read in further detail, full summaries of all the budget bills we passed are available here.
The House DFL focused on several health care priorities this session. We worked hard to ensure Minnesotans can afford their health insurance, prescription drugs, get the care they need when they need it, and to protect health care access for over a million Minnesotans. Our Health Budget was a bipartisan compromise, and we will not stop trying to pass legislation to bring down the cost of health care and make sure drugs like Insulin are available and affordable to those who need it.
The House DFL successfully worked to prevent Republican cuts to education, securing four times their proposed funding level, which would have set our schools further behind after accounting for inflation. Our budget makes investments in our teachers, students, Pre-K, and schools so we can prevent further cuts, layoffs, larger class sizes and higher property taxes.
Most employers pay their employees fairly, but some steal wages by not paying for overtime or making other paycheck deductions. All Minnesotans deserve to be paid the wages they earn. In response to Minnesotans who asked us to hold bad employers accountable when they take advantage of their employees, House Democrats enacted the toughest wage theft prevention and enforcement law in the nation.
We fought successfully to make our tax system more fair for families, seniors, farmers, and small businesses. We’ll put more money in the pockets of working families by providing a middle class tax cut, cutting taxes on Social Security, and doubling the income level Minnesotans can earn before paying a penny in taxes by doubling the standard deduction. For too long our tax system has favored corporations and the wealthy while under-funding schools and contributing to race, geography, and income-based opportunity gaps. The Star Tribune has a comprehensive overview of our tax bill, here.
Our work isn't done. Stay tuned for news and updates during the interim and please continue to keep in touch!
Rep. Michael V. Nelson