Happy Friday! We’ve concluded another big week in St. Paul. We’re releasing our budget bills, and I’m enthusiastic about many of the provisions we included in our initial proposals. There’s still lots of work to get these bills across the finish line, but this is a great start.
Tax Relief Proposal
One of the biggest bills to come out this week is our legislation to bring $1.35 billion in tax relief to Minnesotans. Our bill prioritizes middle-class Minnesotans, working families, senior citizens, recent college graduates, and small business owners. With a large $1.6 billion surplus, we’re trying to give back to you, the taxpayers, who have been overpaying for too long.
House Republicans also unveiled our transportation package. Our plan funds Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure with $6 billion in the next 10 years with a focus on roads and bridges. We’re providing funding for cities under 5,000 residents, and want to create a special fund just for bridge projects.
Also included is language from my bill, HF976, to provide $1 million to the city of Grand Rapids to plan and engineer a freight rail line near the city. This bill is the result of the work of a broad collaborative from our region and I’m pleased to see my legislation included in the House Republican proposal. The $1 million in funding is important as we work toward increasing freight rail routes in the Grand Rapids area to maintain a healthy, competitive economy.
I was happy to have two of my provisions included in the Legacy bill. The first would fund $300,000 over two years toward the Grand Rapids Children’s Discovery Museum. The other would provide $3.2 million in the next biennium to the Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations. This helps one of our great local stations, KAXE in Grand Rapids. I’m pleased to have these two provisions included in the bill, and will advocate for them as this bill continues through the process.
Hill Annex Mine State Park
Recently, a bill for the DNR was brought forward, and it contained a provision to close the Hill Annex Mine State Park. Although this isn’t in our district, I didn’t want to see a quick end to this park without proper examination. I worked with my DFL colleague, Rep. Julie Sandstede, to keep the park open at least until a plan could be put in place. This has been a great resource for our area, and is a rich look into our state’s mining history.
Our region was once again well-represented at the Capitol. Visiting me about their issues and priorities were the Boys and Girls Clubs (new chapters are starting in Grand Rapids and Greenway), students with MCCL, representatives from Itasca County Public Health, and from both the city of Coleraine and Deer River. Thanks to all these visitors!
Spring has arrived; have a great weekend!