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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Dear Neighbor, 

With adjournment from the 2021 session looming, House Democrats’ should abandon their push to raise taxes by billions of dollars amid a historic state surplus.  

The House Democrats’ proposed tax increases are completely unnecessary and could threaten our ability to agree on a new state budget before the May 17 deadline for adjournment. It is disappointing to see majority propose such a partisan budget with tax hikes on gasoline, license tabs, Main Street businesses, and middle-class Minnesotans in general. 

These provisions have no chance of passing the Senate, where every budget bill in that body has earned bipartisan support and tax increases are absent. I would rather see the new two-year state budget focus on helping Minnesota families and businesses regain their footing after a year of pandemic-related setbacks.

With a $1.6 billion state surplus and $2.6 billion more in federal money coming to our state, we can find common ground on a responsible, bipartisan budget that funds our priorities without raising taxes.

The state has an overabundance of revenue, while many people have faced great financial strain over the last year. It’s hard to imagine a worse time to raise taxes. House Democrats should get in touch with the world we’re living in and set their tax increases aside so we can negotiate a bipartisan budget and get our work done on time. That’s what Minnesotans expect and deserve.

I also hope Gov. Tim Walz does not use his emergency powers as an end-of-session bargaining chip that could complicate end-of-session negotiations. Emergency powers are meant to be used for emergencies, not for political leverage that could make a budget solution even more difficult to achieve.

At this point, any need for quick decisions from the executive branch has long passed. The governor is even talking about the State Fair looking pretty close to normal this summer. If that doesn’t tell him it’s time to let the emergency powers go I don’t know if anything will. We owe Minnesotans a transparent and concrete process for ending Minnesota’s peacetime emergency that has been in place for more than one year.

House Republicans have voted nearly 20 times to end the peacetime emergency and have put forward numerous proposals to end or modify the governor’s Chapter 12 powers, as well as proposals to establish timelines and metrics that would end the peacetime emergency. Democrats have refused to advance those proposals in the House and have even held off proposals from their own party to wind down the governor’s emergency powers.  

Watch for more from the Capitol as conference committees continue working toward compromise on various sections of the state budget with a little more than a week to iron things out and get a new two-year budget done on time. Time will tell.

Have a happy Mother’s Day weekend and thanks, mothers, for all you do. I’ll be back with more as developments occur.