ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House concluded the 2018 session on Sunday, passing a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for consideration.
“It is clear that House Republicans went to bat for the people of Greater Minnesota this biennium,” Swedzinski said. “From the transportation funding for small cities, to bonding projects in rural areas and legislation to support property owners, there are a lot of things to be pleased about – and I haven’t even gotten to the tax relief we provided. The only thing which remains unanswered is whether the governor will sign the last of our good bills into law, or if he will play partisan games and prevent Minnesotans from enjoying the benefits we provided them.”
The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Dayton. The federal conformity plan protects taxpayers, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years. It also makes available more than $225 million to help students – nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, provides new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
Earlier Sunday, the House sent a supplemental budget bill to the governor’s desk. It contains shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
A top priority for House Republicans this year was improved school safety and student mental health. The bonding bill passed Sunday night brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million – double the amount proposed by Dayton.
House Republicans also advanced an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonding to fund construction projects throughout the state. Included is a $3.1 million appropriation for the Minnesota Emergency Response & Industrial Training Center in Marshall. There also is $32 million for the construction of new veterans homes, including one for Montevideo which Swedzinski said he advocated. Funding for a Lake Redwood dredging project Swedzinski supported also was included.
The bills sent to the governor build on what Swedzinski called the tremendously successful accomplishments from the 2017 session that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.
The compromise proposals await action by Dayton in the coming days.