Neighbors and Friends,
Our third committee deadline is today and there has been a flurry of activity in committees and on the House floor this week. Many visitors from district 45B have also been stopping in to discuss various issues. Here is an update from the Capitol:
House Omnibus Bills
The House took up the Omnibus Tax and Environment bills yesterday, and is taking up the Omnibus Education and Transportation bills today. These bills fund specific programs.
Yesterday, we debated the Omnibus Tax bill. Unfortunately, the House majority prioritized big tax cuts for businesses and the rich in their bill instead of most Minnesotans. Benefiting millionaires, the tax bill includes a $161.7 million estate tax cut for the wealthiest Minnesotans. The bill also includes property tax cuts for corporations and businesses instead of homeowners and renters.
Instead of this approach, we should put Minnesotans first with targeted tax cuts that will make taxes fairer for everyone in order to improve economic opportunities in every corner of the state like the working family credit.
The Omnibus Environment bill was also debated yesterday. Despite a budget surplus, the bill cuts millions from funding that protects Minnesota’s air, water, and outdoor spaces. Minnesota is lucky to have abundant natural resources, but we can’t take them for granted. Instead, we should be investing to maintain our environmental resources for the next generation of Minnesotans.
Today, the House is debating the Omnibus Transportation bill. The proposal doesn’t make meaningful investments in Minnesota’s transportation needs now and into the future, inadequately addresses the need for long-term investment in roads and bridges, and creates road blocks to fully funding light rail and bus lines. The bill doesn’t invest consistently in transportation statewide. Neglecting Minnesota’s transportation needs is unsafe and will cost Minnesotans more money in the long run. That’s why I’m advocating for a long-term, sustainable solution that provides constitutionally dedicated funding to improve Minnesota’s roads, bridges, and transit.
The Omnibus Education bill is also expected on the Floor today. The education bill would underfund our schools—likely amounting to cuts that could result in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and fewer resources for our kids. The bill also eliminates the voluntary pre-K program and phases out its funding, hurting Minnesota’s youngest learners. Finally, it would close the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley.
Our top priority should be providing a quality education for all Minnesota kids, but unfortunately, this bill will make it harder for them to succeed. Education has made Minnesota a leader, but we won’t continue to lead with cuts to kids’ futures.
Unfinished Business from 2016 Finally Completed
Last year, over $105 million in federal transportation funding was held up over partisan bickering. Thankfully, both sides came together and unanimously approved the funding after a long delay earlier this week. While I am happy that this funding is was approved in time for this construction season, it is a small drop in the bucket.
Advocacy Fair - April 8
In the last few months, many constituents have contacted me wondering how they can get involved to work for policy change. In response, several of my colleagues have put together an Advocacy Fair. The goal of this event is to connect community members with advocacy organizations that could use their help. The Fair, which will be held on Saturday, April 8, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (700 Snelling Ave. S.) in St. Paul, will feature nearly 20 advocacy organizations.Click here to see the Facebook event page.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns.