Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Monday, the legislature ended on time, passing a bipartisan $41.5 billion budget that prioritizes our kids, aging adults and Minnesota families. House Republicans and Senate Democrats were able to negotiate a comprehensive budget that kept state government spending growth in check and included many initiatives from each side of the aisle. While no one got everything they wanted, it was a productive session.
Just as important as what is in this budget deal is what is not. Fixing our roads and bridges and offering $2 billion in tax relief were two of the top legislative priorities for Republicans this year. However, Democrats would not pass either a long-term transportation plan or a tax bill without an agreement to pass the biggest gas tax increase in the state's history. Hearing overwhelmingly from constituents that they opposed a gas tax increase, we held firm on this issue which would have harmed middle class families, people on a fixed income and cost Minnesota drivers hundreds of more each year. We will revisit both transportation and taxes next session.
But even without a road and bridge package or tax relief, there are still a number of great, positive things for Minnesotans in our budget. For education, we invested an additional $400 million in our schools and focused on pre-k by putting $60 million into early learning scholarships and school readiness aid.
Additionally, we placed more money into nursing homes to provide stable funding and increase wages for caregivers. Veterans' homes were also a priority in the State Government Finance Omnibus Bill with an additional $17 million investment.
Third, the legislature also passed tuition relief for Minnesota colleges and passed additional oversights for state government to find efficiencies and protect hardworking taxpayers.
Overall, I found this to be a very bipartisan and productive legislative session. We are now waiting on the governor who has already said he will veto our education legislation over an insistence that schools provide pre-k, a plan that was never approved in either the House or Senate.
I am proud to have passed a budget that benefits Minnesota families and taxpayers both in our district and across the state!
As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative. If I can ever be of assistance to you or your family on a matter of state government, please don't hesitate to contact me.