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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Heinrich (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Heinrich

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Sunday, the governor and legislative leaders reached an agreement on a framework for the state’s budget. The agreement ultimately came too late in session as Monday night the 2019 legislative session adjourned without passing a full budget to fund state government for the next two years. Because funding bills have yet to be approved by the legislature, we will need to return for a special session to avoid a government shutdown later this summer.

No Gas Tax Increase

Within the tentative budget agreement, the good news is that the proposal to raise the gas tax by 20-cents per gallon – a 70% increase – has been taken out of the deal. As you’ve heard from me for months now, this gas tax hike is unnecessary and would have made life more expensive for Minnesota families and businesses. Many of you expressed concerns regarding the impact it would’ve had on your family’s budget, so I’m pleased to report this proposal is off the table.

Under the compromise, proposed fee increases on titles and registrations have also been removed. In addition, a law that devotes sales tax revenue from auto parts will continue to be used to specifically fund transportation. This is great news for Minnesotans, as we will continue having dedicated funding to put towards roads and bridges.

Sick Tax

On the other hand, I’m extremely disappointed that the budget agreement doesn’t phase out the sick tax – a tax on nearly all healthcare services in Minnesota. This tax was set to disappear at the end of 2019, and reinstating it is projected to add around $2 billion to the cost of Minnesotans’ healthcare. This tax makes healthcare more expensive and disproportionately hurts the sickest Minnesotans who see the doctor the most.

Special Session

Legislative leaders have indicated that a special session could happen yet this week or weekend and/or next week. Although special session is now necessary to fund state government, I’m disappointed that we arrived at this point because of Democrats’ unwillingness to abandon their $12 billion tax increases for so long.

Despite the framework that was agreed upon in the budget deal Sunday, many of the details for funding for each area (as well as countless policy provisions) still need to be worked out. Once there is agreement on each finance bill, they’ll need to be passed by the House and Senate during special session before going to the governor. I will follow up with more information and details when I know more about what the final bills will look like.

WWI Veterans Memorial

Last Friday, the governor signed into law my legislation to honor Minnesota veterans who served both stateside and abroad during World War I. The new law recognizes and honors the sacrifices and bravery of all Minnesota’s WWI veterans by authorizing a new plaque in the Capitol Court of Honor. This memorial is a small gesture to remember the enormous sacrifices that these veterans made on behalf of our nation. In addition, the fiscal note for this bill came back at zero, meaning it will come at no new cost to taxpayers. As a Marine Corps veteran, I’m proud to have authored this legislation to honor these veterans and I look forward to seeing the new memorial.

Speaking on the House floor before my bill was voted on and unanimously passed.

The current WWI veterans memorial plaque in the Capitol Court of Honor.

Please Contact Me

Please feel free to contact me anytime to share questions or concerns you have on any legislative matter. I can be reached at 651-296-1729 or rep.john.heinrich@house.mn.

Sincerely,

John

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