ST. PAUL, MN—House Republicans concluded the 2018 session on Sunday, passing a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to the Governor's desk for consideration. Earlier Sunday, the House passed the supplemental budget bill to the governor's desk.
“This year, we continued to build off a successful 2017 session by passing our priorities like tax conformity, school safety, and improving state government,” said Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia. “I was able to help pass important provisions to improve cybersecurity in our state agencies, improve technical and vocational education in our state, and reimburse deputy registrars for costs incurred because of MNLARS. These bills are now on the governor’s desk, and I’m hopeful he’ll do the right thing and sign them into law.”
The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Governor Dayton. The federal conformity plan protects taxpayers, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years. It also makes available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, provides new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
In the supplemental budget bill, House and Senate Republicans compromised with the governor—more than 60 percent of the objections raised by the governor were removed or amended, meeting him more than halfway. The bill contains shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
A top priority for House Republicans this year was improved school safety and student mental health. The bonding bill passed Sunday night brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million—double the amount proposed by Governor Dayton.
House Republicans also advanced an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonding to fund construction projects throughout the state. The majority of funding is dedicated to bricks-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, water infrastructure and statewide asset preservation. In addition, the bonding bill includes $32 million for the construction of new veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, as well as $10 million for the renovation of existing homes.
The bills sent to the governor build on the tremendously successful accomplishments from the 2017 session that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.
The compromise proposals await action by Governor Dayton in the coming days.