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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, March 31, 2023

Dear Neighbor,

From underfunding nursing homes to raising transportation taxes at a time the state has a $17.5 billion surplus, increasing the state budget by 40 percent and beyond, the House majority’s priorities are coming under scrutiny in St. Paul. Here’s more:

Nursing home funding

House Republicans are calling attention to a shortage of funding for nursing homes in the House majority’s budget proposal for the next two-year cycle, despite the ongoing nursing home crisis.

If we can’t support nursing homes at a time the state has a $17.5 billion surplus, when can we ever?

I have a strong appreciation for long-term care workers and the essential services they provide. This is a very important issue and we need to do more for these people. The majority’s under-funding of nursing homes does not recognize that our aging population represent our state’s largest constituency.

A failure to address this crisis will mean more homes will close, seniors will be denied the care they need and nursing home workers will continue to leave the field at a growing rate. All this, at a time when our long-term care services are needed more each year.

Together with Republican legislators, nursing home providers are calling on the Legislature to take action and ensure our nursing homes have the investments they need to keep caring for our seniors. We made a motion in the House chamber to declare urgency and vote to approve nursing home funding on Thursday, but the majority blocked that effort.

I will keep working on this subject so stay tuned for any developments that may occur.

Transportation tax increases

Despite our historic state surplus, the House Democrat transportation bill raises taxes and fees by at least $4 billion – $1.71 billion in 2024-25, and by more than $2.2 billion in 2026-27. This includes:

  • License tab fee increases
  • $10 surcharge on license tabs
  • Motor vehicle sales tax increase
  • ¾-cent metro area sales tax increase (for transit)
  • 75-cent delivery tax (everything from Amazon packages to pizza delivery)

None of these tax hikes fit the “tax the rich” or the “fair share” narrative because virtually all of us will suffer these increases.

That’s a lot of rent $

We recently learned Gov. Walz and family will be relocating to a $17,000 per month lakeside mansion later this year during renovations at the St. Paul governor’s residence. It’s fair to expect the governor would receive nice accommodations while his official residence is uninhabitable, but more than $17,000 per month in rent – at a total taxpayer cost of $329,581 – for a year and a half seems excessive. There certainly were other options available that also would better respect the taxpayers.