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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The 2019 legislative session has ended, and lawmakers have followed through on their top obligation – to craft and approve a state budget for the upcoming budget cycle.


The process to complete this task was extremely ugly.


For the first time in my legislative career, we watched as three people in state government - Governor Walz, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority Leader - crafted our budget. The minority parties had no input at all; we learned about the deal on TV just like everyone else.


Minnesotans deserve better.


Process aside, the budget bills themselves did contain some positive provisions: a ¼% income tax reduction for middle class Minnesotans; a 2% increase in funding for all Minnesota schools over each of the next two years; $6 billion in funding for transportation without raising any taxes; and the continuation of our reinsurance program, which assists Minnesotans who are forced to buy their health insurance on the individual market.


Most importantly, we were able to stop a plan supported by Governor Walz and House Democratic leadership that would have raised the gasoline tax by 20-cents per gallon. We also were able to prevent a $68 million cut to nursing homes, which would have been a travesty considering Minnesota had a $1 billion budget surplus.


Also worth noting, the three leaders agreed to continue Minnesota’s sick tax, which is a tax leveled on anyone who makes a doctor or dentist visit. By law, the sick tax was going to expire on December 31, but it became a sticking point for Democrats who insisted on keeping it.


Sick tax money is supposed to be used to help provide health care to low income Minnesotans, but in reality, Minnesota now receives federal money to accomplish this goal. That means money raised through the continuation of this program – the cost of the tax has dropped from 2% to 1.8% - will inevitably be spent in other areas of state government as federal funding is already there.


In the area of veterans and military affairs, a number of good provisions were approved this session. They include full funding for veterans homes, giving military affairs the resources they need to succeed, and Medal of Honor Memorial funding. It also includes a proposal I worked on that provides a veteran’s surviving spouse with a property tax exclusion for as long as the spouse stays in their house.

In order to make it easier to get this done, we also approved allowing county assessors to share property information with county veterans services officers


After approving all of the budget bills, session adjourned until February.


In other news, I was honored to be the guest speaker at Memorial Day services at the Disabled Veteran's Rest Camp on Big Marine Lake. The rainy weather didn’t stop more than 200 people from attending this wonderful event. I truly appreciated the invitation to speak, as it is a privilege to recognize the sacrifices made by our military heroes who did not return home from battle.


This week I also was pleased to be a guest speaker at the Flint Hills Family Festival at the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul.  It was great to meet up with more than 150 students from Rutherford Elementary in Stillwater, and it appeared everyone was having a great time.


With the 2019 session now over, I’d like to remind residents that I am always available to answer your questions or concerns. Please email me any time at, or call my office at 651-296-4124.


Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving you in the Minnesota House of Representatives.