Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It was another busy week at the Capitol. Before the snowy weekend that lies ahead, I wanted to send out a quick email update with info on the governor’s budget proposal and the many local visitors who I had the chance to chat with this week.
Governor’s Budget Proposal
On Tuesday, Governor Walz unveiled his state budget proposal for the next two years. I was disappointed to see that massive tax hikes – totaling at least $3 billion over the next two years – were a major component of this budget. We don’t want Walz’s One Minnesota to become One ”Expensive” Minnesota!
These tax increases would make life more expensive for families and businesses and take more money out of the pocket of every Minnesotan. You’ve probably heard about the 20 cent per gallon gas tax increase the governor is proposing, which would make Minnesota the state with the 4th highest gas tax in the country. This would especially hurt drivers in our area who drive longer distances and who, obviously, have no public transit options. This proposal would also renew the billion dollar per year sick tax – a tax on healthcare services – which would make healthcare and every trip to the doctor more expensive. In addition, this budget would hurt small businesses by bringing back an annual inflationary increase that would significantly raise property taxes for years to come. Needless to say, we can’t afford the higher taxes the governor is proposing.
On the other hand, there are certainly positives to be found for Greater Minnesota in the governor’s budget. For example, the governor is proposing $70 million over the next two years for rural broadband funding, which would benefit our area by improving access to this vital infrastructure that is critical for economic growth and quality of life. This budget would also increase funding for local governments around the state, which could help stabilize local property taxes in rural Minnesota. Finally, the governor’s budget calls for increased school safety funding to help schools implement best security practices to ensure our kids are safe at school.
Now, it is the responsibility of the legislature to develop our own two-year budget. I believe we can produce a budget, with these spending priorities, and do so without raising taxes!
It was an amazing week of connecting with so many friends from Northern Minnesota who braved some challenging weather to represent their interests at the Capitol. Below are photos with just some of the many groups that stopped by to chat.
Lake Country Power was well represented at the Capitol this week.
Met with this energized group during Catholics at the Capitol Day.
Had the opportunity to sit down with the Bartons from Hidden Haven Resort in Cohasset to discuss family owned resorts and the importance of tourism to our local economy.
Reno Wells and Tim Humphrey of Cass County and Peggy Clayton of Itasca County stopped by with the Minnesota Association of Townships.
Discussing mining issues with LaTisha and Bruce from PolyMet during Duluth and St. Louis County Days.
Please Contact Me
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns on any legislative issue. I value your input and appreciate hearing your thoughts.
Have a great weekend,