Summer Greetings! It’s been wonderful to be back in Lakeville the last few weeks, having the opportunity to reconnect with many of you at soccer fields, downtown restaurants, graduation parties and of course walking my dog, Charlie. I’m always happy to hear what’s important to you, answer questions or to just catch up.
The 2019 legislative session came to a close on May 25th following the completion of a one-day special session. The special session was needed to pass budget bills negotiated by the Senate Majority Leader, House Speaker, and Governor Walz.
With the only divided government in the nation, both Republicans and Democrats needed to come together and reach compromise on a budget deal.
The results were a compromise budget that made important investments in the things that matter most to Minnesotans like health care, schools, safe roads, public safety and jobs.
The vast majority of Democrats’ $12 billion in tax proposals did not become law. This includes many of the tax increases I have discussed in previous Koznick Connections such as the 70% gas tax increase, increases in the metro area sales tax, and significantly more expensive license tab fees.
For the first time in twenty years, Minnesotans will see a reduction in their income tax rates. The second income tax tier will be reduced from 7.05% to 6.8%, putting more money in Minnesotan’s paychecks and lowering the income tax rates for working families. I have repeatedly offered legislation to lower income tax rates and I’m so thrilled to see this reduction become law!
In addition, federal conformity will reduce the headaches and make filing simple next tax season.
Further, House and Senate Republicans were successful in making sure that reforms were included in the final budget deal to fight fraud in the state’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP).
While there's still more work to do, these important steps will help to ensure that your tax dollars are being used to help those that need the help—not going to fraudsters.
This is good news.
I am also pleased that we will be able to build on the significant investments we made in transportation last year by recommitting to our plan that utilizes already existing auto parts sales taxes and puts them towards building and maintaining our roads and bridges.
Metro Mobility Comes to Lakeville
Included in the Transportation Omnibus bill was a provision I have been working on since taking office in 2015 that extends Metro Mobility to Lakeville.
Metro Mobility is a shared ride public transportation service offered by the Metropolitan Council for certified riders who are unable to use regular fixed-route buses due to a disability or health condition.
Thanks to bill language I authored and a lot of bill hearings, Metro Mobility will finally be available in Lakeville after nearly ten years of our community paying for a service that it did not receive. This will be tremendously beneficial for seniors who no longer can drive and folks with disabilities in our community.
I am incredibly proud to have carried and fought for this important piece of legislation.
It is exciting to think about the dignity and opportunity Metro Mobility service will bring to people like Lakeville resident Nick Jones who testified in favor of my bill. Thanks to this legislation, Nick and others like him, will have greater independence and will be able to get to work and enjoy life activities without depending on rides from family and friends.
Lakeville resident, Nick Jones, testified in favor of my Metro Mobility bill
Part of the effort also included a data sharing provision, between the Met Council and Department of Health to obtain federal reimbursement for many of the rides Metro Mobility provides. This provision is expected to save about $8 million a year and the federal reimbursement will help offset the costs of providing the service to Lakeville. I also chief authored this portion of the transportation bill.
2019 “Rising State Leaders” Trade Tour
Recently, I was selected to participate in the 2019 “Rising State Leaders” program through the Canadian Embassy. The program, which featured a multi-city tour in Canada, was an opportunity for American state legislators to learn about the importance of Canada-U.S. relations on a number of issues including trade, energy, the environment, border security, and economic development.
Being selected as one of just eight lawmakers in the nation to participate in this important program was an honor. On the tour, I learned more about the issues that impact both our economic and diplomatic relationships with Canada.
Canada is an important trading partner not just for the United States, but for the state of Minnesota. I am optimistic that this trip helped reinforce trade opportunities with our neighbors to the north that will create good-paying jobs in Minnesota and Lakeville. I am supportive of the renewed and modernized USMCA (U.S., Mexico and Canada) trade agreement, which Congress will need to ratify.
Here I am pictured outside of the chambers of the Canadian Senate.
Staying in Touch
While the successful 2019 legislative session is officially over, my job as your state representative does not end. Please continue to reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns regarding state government.
I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6926 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always eager to learn about your business, group or issues personally important to you and welcome invitations to tour, or meet groups, and attend neighborhood gatherings.
Assistant Minority Leader
State Representative, Lakeville, 58A