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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nels Pierson (R)

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Legislative Update (May 25, 2018)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

As the weekend gets underway, I want to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day as we pay tribute to the brave individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy as Americans.

In other news, today I will be speaking at the commencement ceremony for the Butterfield-Odin High School Class of 2018.  As a proud alum, being asked to address the graduates is a great honor, and I am looking forward to being back in my hometown.

Also, on Sunday I am slated to run my 23rd consecutive Med-City Marathon!  This is always a fun, challenging event that I am glad to have the opportunity to participate in.  Here’s me and my kids at last year’s race.

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On Sunday we concluded the 2018 legislative session by passing and sending to the governor a tax conformity and education funding bill, a supplemental budget bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill.

On Wednesday Governor Dayton vetoed the tax/school funding bill and supplemental budget bill. These vetoes are extremely disappointing, as they will have far-reaching consequences that will negatively impact millions of Minnesotans. The legislature made a good-faith effort to compromise and made significant concessions, removing nearly 70 percent of the governor’s stated objections. These bills contained a host of critically important provisions, and it’s unfortunate that yesterday’s vetoes mean countless Minnesotans will suffer and be left to face the consequences of this move.

The tax conformity and education bill were part of an effort to find compromise with the governor on each of our respective top priorities. House Republicans’ federal tax conformity plan protected taxpayers, simplified Minnesota's tax code, and provided the first income tax rate cut in nearly two decades. The plan also made available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, providing new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.

Meanwhile, the supplemental budget bill contained shared priorities like ensuring safe schools—a top priority of both Republicans and the governor this year, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a 7 percent cut to the wages of caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.  Also included in this package were the bills I authored to provide funding for critical landing system safety improvements at Rochester International Airport, and funding for local non-profit Project Legacy.

However, as a result of the vetoes, none of this will happen this year. Below is a list of some the groups of people who will be negatively affected by the governor’s vetoes:

  • People with disabilities, and their caretakers, who would be affected by a 7 percent cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System
  • K-12 students who won’t benefit from school safety funding
  • Taxpayers who will have a difficult time filing their taxes next year
  • Victims of opioid addiction and elder abuse
  • Special education and Head Start students
  • Deputy registrars hurt by the MNLARS mess
  • Farmers and small businesses that need Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation
  • People who live in rural areas without high-speed internet
  • Students who need help to afford college
  • People who need job training and businesses that need skilled workers
  • CPAs and tax professionals who will be dealing with very complex tax filings
  • Low-income working families who rely on federal child care subsidies
  • Schools that need adjustments to fully fund special education

In addition, my legislation to ease the requirements to qualify for the New Farmer Tax Credit was unfortunately vetoed as a part of the package.  My New Farmer Tax Credit was enacted last year, and is allowing many aspiring farmers to begin careers in agriculture.  I worked with the Land Stewardship Project and other stakeholders on the modifications this year, which would have allowed more new farmers to take advantage of the tax credit.

Still awaiting the governor’s action is the infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced bonding bill that the House passed. This package prioritizes statewide infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges and water infrastructure. It also dedicates funding for the construction of three new veterans homes in greater Minnesota, and provides funding for the renovation of existing homes. For our area, the bonding bill includes legislation that I authored to provide $22.8 million for the reconstruction of Plaza and Memorial Halls at RCTC, as well as $2.5 million for improvement to the Chester Woods state trails. I am hopeful for the governor’s final approval, as this is a good bill that will help create jobs and benefit communities across the state

Even with the vetoes of the tax/education and supplemental budget bill, I believe we have had an incredibly productive past two years, providing Minnesotans with the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, critical health care reforms and significant investments in students and schools. I know we will take up many of the issues that were vetoed again next session, and I am eager to continue to work for the people and shared priorities of Minnesota.

Please Contact Me

It was a privilege to work for you at the Capitol this session. Thank you to everyone that took the time to contact me and visit during the legislative session. This summer, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns that you have on any issue relating to state government. You can reach me via phone at (651) 296-4378 or via email at


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