By Rep. Dean Urdahl
It is the final month of the 2022 legislative session and most of the year’s major issues remain works in progress.
It is common for headline legislation to remain unresolved at this point in a session. But there are areas of concern with more time-sensitive matters are still unresolved despite a state surplus of around $10 billion and growing. For example, the unemployment insurance tax increase employers recently suffered due to inaction by the House majority continues to unnecessarily impact our businesses.
This issue could have been resolved months ago by the House simply approving legislation the Senate approved with broad, bipartisan support two months ago. Concerningly, the House majority’s budget bills include $12 billion in new government spending, yet Legislation to eliminate this needless tax increase is nowhere to be found.
It is long past time to address this issue, especially as we already are facing higher prices across the board these days. Minnesotans are being overtaxed and we should be providing maximum tax relief with the state’s historic surplus.
Public safety also remains a work in progress as the House has not yet moved on legislation to curb the rise of violent crime in our state. House Republicans have issued public safety package which focuses on three key areas: crime prevention and accountability for criminals, police recruitment and retention, and holding the criminal justice system accountable.
While this is not a budget year in name, it feels like one with significant decisions related to the state’s surplus on tap with vast differences in approaches to how these dollars should be used. Again, I will continue advocating for permanent and meaningful tax relief that lets Minnesotans keep more of their hard-earned money.
Numerous bills I have personally authored remain in the mix for approval this session, including:
- HF 3951 provides community homeownership impact program home construction cost funding. This would alleviate an obstacle for five residential housing projects in Meeker County.
- HF 3723 requires schools to offer civics for credit to juniors or seniors.
- HF 2970 amends the Interstate Adult Offender Supervision statute to reimburse county sheriffs for expenses related to the transport of probationers from out of state to Minnesota. Local sheriffs brought this issue forward amid concerns the Department of Corrections has directed them to pick up out-of-state probationers but will not compensate them for any expenses incurred.
- HF 2794 Dassel-Cokato community recreation facility funding provided.
- HF2793 protects hundreds of venues shuttered during the pandemic from paying state taxes on federal COVID-19 relief. Similar state tax relief was provided shielding businesses from state taxes on federal Paycheck Protection Program dollars.
- HF2792 updates the Luce Line trail definition to include a connection to the Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area. This needs to be done to allow master planning and capital investment to occur on an extension from the Luce Line State Trail to the Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area.
- HF 2783 Litchfield; wastewater treatment facility expansion funding to increase the city’s wastewater capacity and allow for business expansion.
- HF 2782 Hutchinson; Phase 2 lake restoration funding provided for a Campbell Lake project.
- HF 0560 Historical commercial district facade preservation grant funding provided aid towns of fewer than 10,000 residents.
Several other projects I have sponsored are still under consideration for a potential capital investment omnibus bill and, as the House Republican lead on that committee, I remain hopeful we can accomplish our priorities.