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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, April 5, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

On Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz delivered his first State of the State address. The state constitution requires the sitting governor to “communicate by message to each session of the legislature information touching the state and country." Like the State of the Union, State of the State addresses are usually an opportunity for the Governor to share their vision for the state.

In the speech, Governor Walz spent a great deal of time urging lawmakers to work together to move Minnesota forward. While I appreciate the governor's words, I hope that his actions match his words. Because, as we’ve detailed before, the Governor’s budget proposal would make life very expensive for everyday Minnesotans; especially for rural Minnesotans.

Governor Walz’s budget is highlighted by more than $3 billion in tax increases over the next two years alone and $4.7 billion in tax increases in 2022-2023. His proposal would raise Minnesota's gas tax by twenty cents—a massive 70 percent increase—vaulting Minnesota's gas tax to 4th highest in the nation. The Governor’s gas tax also has an automatic inflator so each year the gas tax would increase without legislative approval.

His budget also includes increases to tab fees, the motor vehicle sales tax, the Metro Area sales tax, business taxes, and reinstatement of the sick tax, which is set to expire at the end of the year, adding $1 billion to the cost of health care for Minnesotans over the next two years.

All in all, the Governor’s budget proposes spending $49.35 billion for the coming biennium.

Governor Walz’s budget is just the latest example of Democrats’ commitment to raising taxes and growing government. This proposal is wrong for Minnesota. While a number of these proposals will likely pass the DFL controlled House, I am hopeful that the Senate GOP majority will hold the line and make sure that Governor Walz’s radical proposals do not become law.

In contrast, the Senate GOP has proposed a budget that funds priorities without raising taxes—including $8 billion dedicated to roads, bridges, and transit over the next two years.

Their budget comes in $2 billion less than Walz’s plan.

The Senate’s budget proposal continues the wise and responsible investments we made together in 2017—without asking more from Minnesota taxpayers. This budget lets Minnesotans know that they can count on a government that is affordable, accessible, and accountable.

Now that it is April, omnibus finance bills will start coming to the House floor for a vote. This sets up end-of-session negotiations with between the Governor, Senate, and House.

As for myself, I will continue to advocate for a limited, less intrusive government that puts your freedoms first and funds critical needs of state government without raising taxes and increasing living expenses for the poor and those on fixed incomes, especially our seniors.

I will keep you updated on end-of-session happenings as we move into April and May. Until then, please do not hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Glenn

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