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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Backer (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Jeff Backer

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

The 2019 legislative session adjourned last night at midnight with much of our work still unresolved, meaning that the Legislature will need a special session to finish the state budget.

Republicans have warned the House Democrat Majority for months that their extreme tax increases and controversial policy initiatives did not represent the values of Minnesotans and that their continued insistence on including them in budget omnibus bills would put Minnesota on a fast track towards a special session.

Sadly, that's exactly what has happened.

All of this was preceded by a budget agreement that was struck on Sunday evening between the Senate Majority Leader, House Speaker, and Governor Walz.

When the "deal" was announced, the only thing the leaders had agreed upon was a budget framework. Until I have spreadsheets detailing where your money is being spent and bill language to read, it is difficult to know exactly what the remaining budget bills will look like.

What we do know is that House Democrats and Governor Walz agreed to drop their proposed 70% gas tax increase. This is good news for Minnesota.

On the flip side, Democrats and Governor Walz were able to convince the GOP Majority in the Senate to reinstate the sick tax. This is a tax on health care that was set to expire this year.

I am incredibly disappointed to see this tax reinstated as it will raise the cost of health care by $2 billion over the next four years.

One of my top priorities since coming to St. Paul in 2015 has been to make health care more affordable for Minnesotans. Sadly, I am not sure there was anything in the budget agreement that will lower health care costs.

In the days ahead, I will try to keep you updated with details on each of the bills and how I'll be voting.

Unfortunately, that’s the only information I have to pass along today. If you have any questions or concerns, I can be reached on my office number at 651-296-4929 or my cell phone at 701-361-1909. You can also reach by email at rep.jeff.backer@house.mn, or via U.S. Mail at 203 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

It is an honor serving you and your family in St. Paul!

Have a great week,

Jeff

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