I hope finds you well and enjoying the beautiful weather.
The Legislature adjourned on May 25th with a budget compromise to protect health care for 1.2 million Minnesotans, many of whom are the most vulnerable in our state, deliver targeted tax cuts to families and businesses, and makes historic investments in our state’s students.
As one of the only divided legislatures in the country, Minnesota proved the art of compromise is not lost. Here’s an overview of our key accomplishments from the 2019 session and goals for 2020:
We cut taxes for middle class families, which is the first income tax cut in almost 2 decades. Federal conformity was achieved and as a result, we doubled the standard deduction. Over 90% of Minnesotans will not have to itemize on their returns. We’re also easing the financial hardship on seniors by cutting taxes on Social Security.
Our compromise education budget makes historic investments in all of Minnesota’s public K-12 schools, so they can address special education needs, prevent teacher layoffs, important programming cuts, and larger class sizes. The Senate plan proposed a .5% increase in 2020 and another .5% in 2021. The House’s proposal had 3% in 2020 and another 2% in 2021. The final education agreement allocates 2% in both years. Voluntary Pre-K opportunities are now secured for over 4,000 students across the state.
Health & Safety
In response to soaring prescription drug costs, I supported successful legislation to shine light on the business practices of the middlemen at the heart of the drug distribution system. The Legislature enacted sweeping oversight to improve drug pricing transparency and accountability. A key component of the final health care budget included a ten percent reduction in the provider tax.
There’s more to do in this area of the budget and I’m committed to continuing the work on access to affordable, quality health care for our community.
We also passed significant legislation that’s been signed into law, which addresses the opioid crisis, elder abuse and neglect, and helps keep Minnesotans safe from distracted driving.
All Minnesotans deserve a strong transportation infrastructure designed for the 21st century, regardless of how they get around to run errands, go to work or school, or stay connected to family. This is the area of the budget in which I’m most disappointed. The transportation bill contains no long-term, sustainable funding mechanism for roads, bridges, nor transit. Over $400 million is diverted from “rainy day reserves” to maintain existing funding levels.
We need a long-term plan, not only to maintain our transportation infrastructure, but to build it for the future to stay economically competitive. This will remain a priority for me.
Keep in Touch
Please never hesitate to reach out with ideas for next year, or to let me know how I can be of assistance.
It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol!