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

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Urdahl: 2024 session underscores more balance needed in St. Paul

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Legislature adjourned Monday, putting a bow on a two-year cycle Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, said was marked by overspending, needless tax increases, extreme policies and broken promises with Democrats in full control of the Capitol.

With the record $18 billion surplus last year, Urdahl said Minnesotans deserved meaningful tax cuts at a time when in?ation and rising costs of living have family budgets stretched thin. Instead, he said House Democrats went on a spending spree, increasing the budget by 40% – the largest budget increase in Minnesota history – and raising taxes by $10 billion in the process.

“The trajectory our state is on should be highly concerning to Minnesotans because it’s just not sustainable,” Urdahl said. “Families and businesses are struggling to get by, but our government keeps spending more and more, raising taxes along the way. We need more balance at the Capitol because the current one-party control is unaffordable.”

As the ranking Republican on the House Capital Investment Committee, Urdahl said he was disappointed a bonding package to fund essential infrastructure projects around the state went unpassed this session. A bill providing cash for projects passed the House late Sunday night, including $10 million for wastewater work in Litchfield, but the Senate missed the midnight deadline to provide final approval by a minute or less. A bonding package never did come to the House floor in 2024.

“It’s disappointing we worked so hard to get it done and it was right there, but time mismanagement is causing important projects to die on the vine,” Urdahl said. “The project in Litchfield is a prime example because of how it impacts the ag industry in our state. This needs to be done, we got it to the brink and then bad clock management cost the people of our state.”

Urdahl said Republicans spent part of the 2024 session successfully resolving significant problems created in 2023. Most notably, he said this includes a fix to the tax bill, getting school resource officers back in all the buildings they had been serving, and correcting a net-operating loss issue. Legislation Republicans championed to provide an additional $30 million for Emergency Ambulance Service Aid also received legislative approval.

Urdahl indicated several highly controversial, partisan policy measures were enacted with one party in control the last two years. Urdahl said this includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, and declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare – for children. In addition, he said a Democrat provision ended electronic pull tabs as we knew them, dealing a major blow to local charitable organizations.

Religious freedom was another high-profile issue this session after protections against discrimination claims that had been in our state for decades were eliminated. A variation of Republican legislation was enacted into law this session re-establishing protections for religious entities.

Urdahl said other things that did not happen this biennium were the result of Democrats failing to deliver on promises they made to Minnesotans. In particular, he said this includes voting against bills that would ensure our of?cers have the resources they need, not achieving full Social Security tax relief, and not providing $2,000 rebate checks.