We have two legislative days left before we reach our constitutionally mandated adjournment.
On Monday, the House approved a $1.5 million appropriation for the Mille Lacs-Malmo East ATV loop near Mille Lacs Lake as part of an $825 million capital investment bill. This funding would allow the addition of 58 miles of ATV trail called the Mille Lacs-Malmo East Loop ATV trail to the Northwoods Regional ATV Trail System. That bill went to the Senate but failed, so further action is needed to move this forward.
Tuesday, the House provided final approval of a tax bill to reconcile Minnesota’s tax code with recent major federal tax reforms. The bill provides tax relief to middle-class Minnesotans, it would positively impact about 2.2 million Minnesotans. Under our plan 99.8 percent of all Minnesotans would see a tax reduction or at least be held harmless. Disappointingly, the governor vetoed the bill. Negotiations continue in an attempt to find middle ground.
Thursday the House approved a bill that would advance our long-range transportation funding plan that was enacted last year. We propose by a constitutional amendment to permanently dedicate existing sales tax dollars generated on the purchases of auto parts, tires, etc. toward transportation. We already do that with gas tax revenue.
I carried legislation last year that was folded into the larger transportation funding bill which began the process of using sales tax dollars collected on auto parts and repairs for improvements on Minnesota’s roads and bridges. This is a common-sense way to make sure we get our roads and bridges into the shape Minnesotans expect. That bill is now in the Senate awaiting action.
Last week the governor vetoed a bill I authored to fix the defunct sulfate standard, despite the support of labor union leaders, mayors, and Main Street business and industry leaders from across Minnesota.
Myself, and a group of bipartisan Northern Minnesota legislators, have been meeting daily with the governor’s staff and the MPCA agency personnel in an attempt to find a path forward. We continue to work on how to best to protect wild rice without threatening the economic wellbeing of communities across Minnesota.
We will be working through the weekend to finish up, I will update you as we move forward.