ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said the tentative agreement that was reached on a new two-year state budget Sunday is a step forward in most areas.
“I am pleased to see the governor and House DFL majority finally gave up on their demand to hike the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon,” Lueck said. “There are lots of details yet to be worked out. Equally important to stopping the gas tax hike was preventing the robbing of the statutorily dedicated road and bridge funding that comes from auto parts and repair sales citizens already pay. There is also renewed funding for the state’s broadband program to continue the expansion of high-speed internet service to underserved and unserved areas of the state, which includes major portions of Aitkin and Crow Wing counties.
“However, reinstating the health care provider tax remains problematic despite a long standing by-partisan agreement to end that tax. That action will add about $2 billion in health care costs to Minnesotan’s in the near term.”
Lueck said he also is pleased to see the agreement provided additional funding for K-12 education (2 percent more each of the next two years).
“There is a lot of detailed work to be done before this budget is put in place,” Lueck said. “With the budget deal finally coming forward late Sunday and constitutionally mandated adjournment at midnight Monday, a special session will be required to flesh out the details that were agreed upon. When that will take place and how many days a special session would last has yet to be determined.”