Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’ve spent long days and nights this week discussing and voting on budget bills, making for a busy week at the Capitol. Today we’re debating the agriculture and transportation omnibus bills, and will resume legislative activity on Monday.
The major theme of Democrats’ budget bills has been tax and spend, with their budget proposal including over $12 billion in new taxes. They also contain a number of concerning policy changes. While I remain concerned with the current bills, I’m optimistic we can still work with the Republican Senate to improve them before they go to the Governor. Here’s a rundown of the important components of each bill.
On Tuesday, the House approved the education omnibus bill. Education spending has steadily grown for years and is the largest portion of the state budget. This bill spends an additional $900 million; most of that funding would come from taking more than $400 million from road and bridge funding and a 70% gas tax increase. Despite the additional funding, I’m disappointed that this bill widens the unfair per pupil funding gap between rural and metro school districts. For our area, it provides Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts with 19% more per pupil funding than Anoka-Hennepin School district
The bill also contains numerous controversial policy provisions. The most egregious measures include radical and controversial sexual education requirements from Planned Parenthood. It also lowers teacher licensing standards, eliminates teacher licensing safeguards designed to keep our students safe, and does nothing to close Minnesota’s achievement gap.
Wednesday saw the House pass the jobs and energy omnibus bill. This bill implements over $2 billion in new taxes by taking money from every Minnesota employer and employee, while calling for 400 new government employees to carry out the new regulations. It also includes extreme energy mandates that will drive up families’ electric bills and endanger our energy grid’s reliability.
Health and Human Services
On Thursday, the House approved Democrats’ massive, 1,100-page health and human services omnibus bill. This legislation raises healthcare costs by reinstating the provider tax, adding $2.5 billion to the cost of healthcare.
It also includes changes to nursing home reimbursement rates, which would result in about half of Minnesota's nursing facilities facing budget cuts. I’m very concerned about the harmful impact these cuts will have on nursing homes and seniors.
In addition, the bill fails to take on widespread fraud in Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program and doesn’t extend Minnesota's reinsurance program, which could cause premium rates to skyrocket next year.
Late last night the House passed the taxes omnibus bill, which contains a number of new taxes totaling more than $3 billion over the next four years. This includes regressive taxes that disproportionately impact middle and lower income Minnesotans as well as new taxes on businesses that will increase the cost of goods and services and hurt wage growth.
These taxes are a part of Democrats’ broader budget proposal that will raise taxes on Minnesotans by over $12 billion during the next four years and includes some of the tax increases mentioned above. With a state surplus exceeding $1 billion, we shouldn't be considering raising taxes.
I’ve written previously about my successful efforts to secure funding to begin cleaning up the WDE landfill in Andover. On Wednesday, May 8, from 6:00PM-7:30PM at the Andover City Hall the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will host an open-to-the-public meeting to provide an update on the status of the cleanup, which is set to begin May 15.
In other news, August 6 is the annual Night to Unite in communities in our area. This is a great opportunity for families to come together, meet their neighbors, and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect. Registration information can be found below:
Coon Rapids: https://www.coonrapidsmn.gov/255/Night-to-Unite
Please Contact Me
As always, I encourage you to please contact me with any questions or input by phone at 651-296-4231 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,