First of all, I’d like to congratulate our area high school graduates! I wish all of you the very best in your future endeavors.
I attended the graduation ceremony for the Burnsville Alternative High School Class of 2019 last week. These students have overcome substantial personal and family challenges to be able to graduate, and I really enjoyed hearing their inspirational stories.
I’m pleased to report that my colleagues and I recently completed our work on the state budget. After months of hard work, we passed a new two-year budget that makes strong investments in schools, preserves health care for 1.2 million Minnesotans, and delivers targeted tax cuts.
I’m particularly proud of our investments in E-12 education. We successfully fought for more funding for all of Minnesota’s public schools and prevented Republican cuts that would’ve increased teacher and staff layoffs, larger class sizes, and higher property taxes.
In addition to an annual two percent increase in per-student funding, we froze the special education cross subsidy – the gap between the cost of providing special education services and what is covered by state and federal funding. That helps schools keep up with the rising costs of special education without drawing from other budget areas so they can meet the needs of all students.
Health and Human Services
Ensuring that all Minnesotans have access to affordable, high-quality health care is one of my top priorities because I know how important it is in our community. We protected 1.2 million Minnesotans from losing their insurance by securing permanent funding for the Health Care Access Fund. Senate Republicans threatened to eliminate dental and vision services and funding that helps Minnesota families pay for child care, but House DFLers worked hard to preserve basic coverage and prevent cuts that would’ve impacted 30,000 kids.
Our bipartisan tax plan delivers targeted tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners, seniors, working families, small businesses, and farmers. We cut the income tax rate for the first time in almost two decades. Doubling the standard deduction will cut taxes for many Minnesotans and make the filing process simpler for most taxpayers. The plan also reduces taxes on Social Security benefits and provides tax credits for working families and small businesses.
While the budget we passed doesn’t include everything I’d hoped for, it’s a good first step on a longer path toward a Minnesota that works better for all of us. In the coming months, I look forward to talking with you about how we can keep Minnesota moving forward together. Please feel free to share your input.