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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Jeff Backer

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

The 2019 legislative session came to a close last Saturday morning following the completion of a one-day special session. Unfortunately, a special session was needed to pass the budget bills negotiated by the Senate Majority Leader, House Speaker, and Governor Walz.

Democrats’ obsession with raising taxes by more than $12 billion is essentially what forced the special session.

Thankfully, when all was said and done, House and Senate Republicans were successful in defeating most of the Democrats’ extreme tax increases.

Despite our success defeating the 70% gas tax increase and a whole host of other tax increases, I am nevertheless disappointed that the final budget agreement raises health care taxes on Minnesotans via reinstatement of the “sick” tax.

Other things that I would consider “wins” from this year’s legislative session include:

  • First income tax rate cut in 20 years: the tax bill lowered the second-tier rate from 7.05% to 6.8% beginning in 2019, allowing most Minnesotans to keep more of their hard-earned money. 
  • No Gun Control: Thanks to bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate, none of Democrats' extreme gun control proposals survived in the final budget agreement.
  • Extending Reinsurance: The final budget agreement extended reinsurance for two years, continuing a program that has proven to lower health care costs for families and become a national model that other states red and blue alike are following. Republicans also stopped harmful proposals like "ONEcare" that would have hurt rural hospitals thanks to their lower reimbursement rate.
  • No Nursing Home Cuts: Republicans fought Democrat-backed efforts to cut $68 million from nursing homes. These cuts would have devastated budgets for nursing facilities and harmed care for aging Minnesotans.
  • No Gas Tax: Republicans stood strong and blocked all of the Democrat-backed transportation tax increases, including the Governor's 70 percent increase to the gas tax.
  • Cracking Down on Fraud: The final HHS bill included provisions to crack down on fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
  • No ONEcare: Republicans defeated Governor Walz's ONEcare proposal, which would have hurt rural hospitals and was a next step toward a single-payer, government takeover of health care.

With his first session in the books, it's clear that Governor Walz failed to live up to his "one" Minnesota slogan. I will continue to fight for the good folks of western Minnesota and ensure that the voice of Greater Minnesota is well represented in St. Paul.

While session may be over for the year, my job as your state representative does not end. Please continue to reach out to me with any thoughts, concerns, or questions you may have regarding state government. 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 weekend,

Jeff

 

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