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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 9, 2019

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Dear neighbors,

My House colleagues and I finished passing our entire budget last week! Each area of the budget is the result of months of hard work and long days and late nights of discussion. I’m proud of the budget that we’ve put forth and looking forward to working with the Senate to finish it. Here’s some of the highlights of our Minnesota Values Budget:

E-12 Education

The first budget that passed, our E-12 Education plan, invests in every student in every public school! It would increase per-pupil funding by three percent in the first year and another two percent in the second. Funding would increase by approximately $631 more per student in North St. Paul, Maplewood, and Oakdale schools. Mahtomedi schools would receive around $797 more for each student.

Increased funding makes it possible to support students inside and outside the classroom. Unfortunately, the Senate budget doesn’t offer the same investments. If it was adopted, the North St. Paul – Maplewood – Oakdale district would receive $867,552 more in funding next year. The House budget includes a $3,836,929 increase for the district.

A fact sheet with more about the House E-12 Education budget is available here.

Health & Human Services

Too many Minnesotans struggle to access and afford the care they need. Our health and human services budget would help by:

  • Reducing the cost of prescription drugs and premiums
  • Protecting elders who live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes
  • Lowering premiums and providing discounts directly to consumers
  • Giving Minnesotans an option to buy into a plan similar to MinnesotaCare

A fact sheet about this plan is available here. The latest episode of the Minnesota Values Podcast, which you can listen to here, also has more information about the budget.

Taxes

Our tax plan levels the playing field by putting families, small businesses, and seniors first and closing corporate loopholes. It would cut taxes for more than two-thirds of Minnesotans and simplify the filing process for everyone! By requiring big corporations to follow the same rules as small businesses, our tax plan would bring foreign profits back to Minnesota. The new revenue would go directly towards investments in our schools and a tuition freeze for Minnesota colleges and universities.

A fact sheet – including a breakdown of the numbers – is available here.

Transportation

It’s clear that Minnesota’s roads, bridges, and transit need fixes and improvements. Our budget provides the funds that are needed to make our transportation system safer for Minnesotans and help local governments keep up with the cost of maintenance.

Oakdale would receive approximately $602,200 more in aid over the next four years. North St. Paul would get an increase of $330,483, and Maplewood would see $1,135,600 more. The budget would also help at the county level. It gives $7,042,193 more to Washington County and 12,127,568 to Ramsey.

Another fact sheet is available here.

Higher Education 

Our higher education budget aims to make college more affordable. It would freeze tuition at all two- and four-year public colleges and universities so thousands of Minnesotans wouldn’t pay a penny more for the next two years! It also supports the state grant program, which currently benefits 80,000 students. On average, students in the program would receive more than $400 more each year. 1,900 Minnesotans would become eligible for the state grant program for the first time.

A fact sheet with more details is available here.

Legacy Amendment Funding

As Chair of the Legacy Finance Division, I’m proud that our plan passed the House with a 100 – 26 vote last Thursday! Legacy Amendment funds provide opportunities for Minnesotans to enjoy the arts, the outdoors, and Minnesota’s heritage. This legislation restores wetlands, prairies, forest, and waters; protects water quality; improves parks, trails, and recreation areas that connect people to the outdoors; and expands access to the arts. It includes support for children’s museums, libraries, public television and radio, zoos and aquariums, and other programs that celebrate Minnesota history and culture!

Moving Forward

Now that the House and Senate have approved their budgets, members from each will meet in conference committees to settle their differences. Your input is more important than ever during these negotiations! Please stay in touch as we come closer to the end of the session.

Sincerely,

Leon Lillie
State Representative

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