This last full week of session was not very productive. As I pen this update with only three days left before mandatory adjournment, the House majority has failed to put forward a single agency funding bill.
The House majority, with governor’s backing, continues to insist on imposing major tax increases, unwarranted anti-police officer law enforcement measures, and a stubborn unwillingness to exempt federal COVID-19 related unemployment proceeds and federal paycheck protection program grants from state income tax as the price to move forward on a state budget.
On Monday, May 17, Minnesotans face the state income tax filing deadline with no relief being granted on UI and paycheck protection program state income tax liabilities. Rather than pay attention to helping Minnesotans, my colleagues across the aisle remain focused on legalization of recreational marijuana. So far, they are unwilling to find the time to provide hard pressed Minnesotans tax relief on COVID-19 federal UI and PPP grants. By contrast, the House majority has found time to hold 12 separate committee hearings and a lengthy floor session to pass a recreational marijuana bill – legislation that is going nowhere in the Senate.
With our state and national economy beginning to shake off the hammering it took over the past 14 months due to COVID-19, this is not the time to be punishing Minnesotans by extracting state income taxes on federally tax exempt COVID-19 unemployment assistance and paycheck protection program grants.
I will continue to press the point that, with a combined state and federal $4.4 billion surplus, there is no excuse for not bringing the bipartisan, veto-proof UI/PPP tax relief bill the Senate sent over weeks ago to the House to the floor for a vote. Let’s stop punishing Minnesotans and do the right thing. It’s not like the governor and my liberal colleagues need to squeeze those last measly few tax dollars from hard-pressed Minnesotans in order to fully fund our state agencies for the next two years.
It is welcome news that the CDC has relaxed the COVID-19 guidance on masks and the governor was quick to follow suit. Please be safe on the water and good luck to many that will be enjoying a little fishing this weekend.