It has been an eventful week in the Minnesota House. Sunday started things off with Governor Walz’s State of the State Address, and from there we’ve been spending most of our time passing the House DFL’s proposals for how to invest our historic state budget surplus.
Already, we’ve passed our proposals on Legacy, Agriculture, Housing, Broadband, Transportation, State Government, Veterans, Pensions, Education, Environment, and Higher Education. Still to go today is our Judiciary and Public Safety bill.
In my speech for the Housing bill earlier this week, I touched on the main question for many of these bills: Should we use our $9 billion surplus to cut taxes for millionaires and the ultra-rich or should we ease the squeeze on everyday families on their big ticket budget items - child care, health care and housing? It's a no-brainer. Let's reduce costs for Minnesota families.
Of the important bills we’ve passed so far, much of my work has been on Housing and Higher Education, as I serve on those committees. In Housing - one of the biggest expenses for families - our proposals reduce costs for families by investing $2 billion to help all Minnesotans secure a place to call home, ensuring stability for families and a more prosperous state where everyone can thrive.
In Higher Education, which we just passed today, we deliver $250 million aimed at improving student affordability, equity, well-being and safety, and campus sustainability.
Frontline Worker Bonuses & UI
As I write this e-mail, we are beginning to take up a bipartisan agreement to deliver bonus checks to frontline workers and replenish the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund. At the start of the pandemic, a historic number of Minnesotans needed to take advantage of our UI safety net, depleting the fund. At the same time, another group of workers went to their jobs, even during the pandemic’s darkest days, in order to keep our state running.
Despite Republicans dragging their feet on recognizing the need to address both of these issues, we’ve finally reached a compromise that delivers (an estimated) $750 bonus to our frontline workers as well as addresses the UI Trust Fund. As is the nature of compromise, it’s not perfect. We should be sending more to our frontline workers and their families. In addition, the compromise leaves out a provision that would ensure part-time school workers can collect unemployment insurance. We will continue to fight to ensure that we are not leaving these workers behind as we debate our budget bills in the coming weeks. Ultimately, I will be voting for the bill because it delivers real and significant relief to Minnesota workers that is long overdue. You can read more about this deal here.
If you have any questions about the proposals we’re passing or our work ahead in the final month of session, please feel free to reach out.