Good morning! We concluded the 2018 session last night, sending a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for consideration.
Those measures had bipartisan support as they moved through to final passage. Our state Constitution gives the governor exceptional power over bills sent to his desk. He now has two weeks to decide which bills he will sign into law and which he will veto.
Over the past four months, the Legislature has worked to find middle ground on a wide variety of issues facing Minnesotans. The governor’s legacy is now in his hands. All Minnesotans can do now is ask that the governor use the power of his pen in a constructive manner.
The tax and education bills represent a compromise between the legislature and the governor. The tax plan protects Minnesota taxpayers from significant tax increases due to recent changes in the federal tax code, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate reduction for middle class families in nearly 20 years.
We have a supplemental budget bill on the governor's desk. That bill contains priorities shared by the legislature and governor including new funding for school safety, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to the caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
As a member of the House Bonding Committee I am proud to have been part of the effort that advanced an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced capital investment package in general obligation bonding to fund public construction projects throughout the state.
Of great importance was increasing school facility safety measures and strengthening our regional mental health services. The bonding bill makes a school safety and regional mental health services investment of more than $50 million – about double what the governor proposed.
We went heavy on bricks-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, clean water related infrastructure, regional mental health treatment centers and statewide asset preservation. Of particular importance is $32 million for the construction of new veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, as well as $10 million for the renovation of existing veterans homes.
Last night we adjourned the 90th Legislative Session in accordance with the state Constitution. I am very pleased with accomplishments we made on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota. It’s now up to the governor to use his pen in a responsible manner to sign those accomplishments into law.