I hope you all had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend and were able to take time to honor those who paid the ultimate price in service of our nation.
At the State Capitol, we completed a one day special session just before sunrise on May 25.
From a transparency standpoint, the budget creation process this session was as bad as I’ve ever seen it. Entire budget bills were decided entirely behind closed doors by the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader without a single provision adopted in public prior to passage.
As shared earlier, the highlight was being able to prevent a 20-cent per gallon gas tax increase from becoming law. We were also able to stop a $68 million cut to nursing homes, a maneuver that boggled the mind considering we had a $1 billion budget surplus.
There was other good news as well. The first income tax rate cut in 20 years will be heading to middle class Minnesotans, as the second tier rate was cut from 7.05% to 6.8% beginning this year. Combined with federal tax conformity which was also approved, and Minnesotans will be keeping more of what they earn.
Reinsurance was also extended for two more years. This means Minnesota will continue a program that has proven to lower health care costs for families and become a national model that other states are trying to follow.
Local schools will receive a 2% funding increase over each of the next two years, and we’re maintaining our high education standards by preserving teacher licensure reforms.
The bad news is the sick tax will now continue. This two percent tax on doctor’s visits was scheduled to sunset on December 31. Now it will go on, albeit at a new 1.8% rate.
With the 2019 session now over, I’d like to remind residents that I am always available to answer your questions or concerns. Please email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my office at 651-296-5368. Have a great summer!