ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House concluded the 2018 session on Sunday, passing a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for consideration.
“Last year was historic in terms of our successes and we expanded upon that by passing even more tax relief, funding for roads and bridges and other accomplishments such as school safety funding and another strong capital investment package,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “I am proud of the work we did and now it’s up to the governor to sign this year’s big bills into law. It would be extremely disappointing for him to stand in the way of Minnesotans enjoying the beneficial provisions we put on his desk.”
As chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee, Urdahl personally led to passage an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced bonding package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonding to fund construction projects throughout the state. Funding for work in District 18A includes $5 million for an Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District Elementary School re-purposing and $100,000 for continued restoration of the Litchfield Opera House.
Urdahl said improved school safety and student mental health were top priorities for the House this year. The bonding bill passed Sunday night brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million – double the amount proposed by Dayton.
The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Dayton. The federal conformity plan protects taxpayers, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years. It also makes available more than $225 million to help students – nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, provides new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
Earlier Sunday, the House sent a supplemental budget bill to the governor’s desk. It contains shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
The bills sent to the governor build on what Urdahl called the tremendously successful accomplishments from the 2017 session that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.
The compromise proposals await action by Dayton in the coming days.