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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Peggy Scott (R)

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End of Session Update (May 30, 2019)

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

After adjourning regular session without the completion of a budget, a one-day special session convened last Friday. The special session concluded early Saturday morning with a budget sent to the governor after gaining the approval of both legislative bodies.

I was disappointed a special session was required for the legislature to approve our state’s next two-year budget. And I was especially disappointed that the major holdup causing a special session was Democrats’ unwillingness to abandon their $12 billion in tax increases for so long.

Thankfully, the final budget that the governor will sign did not include such a massive tax hike. That said, the budget does include a measure that will raise the cost of healthcare by $2 billion on Minnesota families through the continuation of the sick tax. The sick tax – a tax on nearly all healthcare services in Minnesota – was set to disappear at the end of 2019. This harmful tax disproportionately hurts the sickest Minnesotans who go to the doctor the most, and not doing away with it was a major missed opportunity this year.

On the other hand, there were a number of good things that came out of this session. Republicans held firm and we were able to avoid many of the countless bad policies that were considered this year.

Some of the positives from the 2019 legislative session include:

  • No Gas Tax: Republicans stood strong and blocked all of the Democrat-backed transportation tax increases, including the Governor's 70 percent increase to the gas tax. In addition, the auto parts sales tax revenue that the state is already collecting will continue to be dedicated to roads and bridges.
  • No Nursing Home Cuts: Republicans fought Democrat-backed efforts to cut $68 million from nursing homes. These cuts would have devastated budgets for nursing facilities and harmed care for aging Minnesotans.
  • First income tax rate cut in 20 years: The tax bill lowered the second-tier rate from 7.05% to 6.8% beginning in 2019, allowing most Minnesotans to keep more of their hard-earned money. This historic rate reduction, along with federal conformity will mean more money in people's pockets and fewer headaches next tax season.
  • No Gun Control: Thanks to bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate, none of the extreme gun control proposals survived in the final budget agreement.
  • No Planned Parenthood Curriculum: The radical and controversial sexual education requirements from Planned Parenthood in the original education bill have been defeated.

Process/Transparency Concerns

As I wrote about last week, I was incredibly disappointed in the process that unfolded at the end of session. Nearly all the decisions were made behind closed doors by just the governor and two legislative leaders. This stripped the process of transparency and left other legislators and the public in the dark.

This is a process that should be carried out by all 201 legislators from around the state who have been elected by Minnesotans to authorize funding and make laws. It’s the constitutional duty of the legislature to write laws and send them to the governor for action, and it’s concerning that this year’s process involved a lot of that lawmaking authority in the hands of the governor. It should also be done in public, where the process is transparent and citizens can weigh in and know what’s happening.

Minnesotans deserve better than this and I’m hopeful the transparency surrounding this process will improve going forward. It’s important we seriously consider reforms to this process so this doesn’t become the new norm for future legislative sessions.

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 rep.peggy.scott@house.mn.

Sincerely,

Peggy  

 

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