The House and Senate both have provided preliminary approval of all their omnibus finance bills that, together, shape the state’s next two-year budget.
The last such bill to come through the House relates to health, human services and early childhood (H.F. 2128). It was approved on Monday and, like the Democrat majority’s other omnibus bills, the vote was along party lines.
I do not support the bill because it continues to expand government-run healthcare and imposes burdensome new mandates that drive up the cost of health care for Minnesota families. This includes a study of how Minnesota can create a government-run insurance product.
A source of good news this week is the House and Senate on Tuesday passed $7.8 million to provide funding for public safety assistance costs in the Twin Cities.
The bill provides $1.5 million in funding to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to reimburse out-of-state law enforcement who traveled to the Twin Cities to provide assistance for the Derek Chauvin trial. An additional $6.3 million is provided for State Patrol Trooper and DNR Conservation Officer expenses related to civil unrest.
House Republicans unanimously voted in favor of final passage of the bill and it was approved 107-25. There were 25 “no” votes from House Democrats, revealing how fractured that caucus is with the fringe members opposing legislation to aid law enforcement.
On the other hand, all House Republicans voted “yes” for this funding because we do support our law enforcement. It is good this bill passed to help ensure law enforcement has the resources needed to keep our communities safe. I strongly disagree with the displays of disrespect from extremists who are looking to defund the police or otherwise make it difficult for our law enforcement to do their jobs.
As for the budget process, conference committees are starting to meet so they can work through differences between House and Senate proposals. Taxes likely will be the biggest obstacle to clear because House Democrats are looking for increases of more than $2.5 billion at a time the state has a historic surplus of more than $4 billion. I support the Senate majority’s position of not raising taxes and adding to the burden families and businesses already face, especially after what has been a difficult year for many.
Until next time, have a good weekend and please stay in touch.