Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you are able to spend extra time in the company of women who have special meaning in your life as we celebrate them this weekend.
Here is a look at the latest from the Capitol:
Joint House-Senate conference committees continue working on various aspects of the state budget in the hopes of striking compromise so a finished product can be approved before our May 17 date for adjournment.
It appears taxes will continue to be a major source of contention in negotiations with the House majority proposing a multi-billion-dollar tax increase at a time the state has a historic surplus. It is disappointing to see the majority propose such a partisan budget with tax hikes on gasoline, license tabs, Main Street businesses, and middle-class Minnesotans in general. The Senate has expressed opposition to tax increases and every budget bill in that body has earned bipartisan support.
I would rather see the new two-year state budget focus on helping Minnesota families and businesses regain their footing after a year of pandemic-related setbacks. And we need to make sure we fully repeal the state tax on federal Payment Protection Program loans businesses received to make payroll amid restrictions the governor placed on them. It would be wrong for our state to benefit financially from hardships businesses experienced and it would be yet another setback for their recovery.
The governor has announced he will end Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions on businesses by May 28 and remove the statewide indoor mask mandate by at least July 1. While this is good to see, we also need a transparent and concrete process for ending Minnesota’s peacetime emergency that has been in place for more than one year.
The Legislature is still in session, and we should be working with the governor on developing a plan to fully restore our representative system of government. The public deserves for this to be a transparent process based on data, with dates and metrics laid out for them instead of having to play wait and see with the governor.
It concerns me that a lack of transparency will only further complicate matters and, unfortunately, give life to the idea the governor’s emergency powers are rooted in politics and serve as leverage in budget negotiations. We can put that talk to rest by setting out a plan that shows people what our path forward looks like with concise, consumable data.
House Republicans have voted nearly 20 times end the peacetime emergency and have put forward numerous proposals to end or modify the governor’s Chapter 12 powers, as well as proposals to establish timelines and metrics that would end the peacetime emergency. House Democrats have refused to advance those proposals and have even stonewalled proposals from their own party to wind down the governor’s emergency powers.
Watch for more news from the House as we enter crunch time at the Capitol.