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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Anderson (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Memorial Day

Dear Neighbor,

Before we get to legislative business, I want to wish you a good Memorial Day weekend as we pay tribute to our fallen military heroes who gave everything to defend our state and nation. I hope you are able to attend any of the various Memorial Day events in our region this holiday weekend.

As for notes from the Capitol, the 2023 session concluded Monday and it will be most remembered for Democrats increasing state spending by more than 40 percent and increasing taxes by record amounts despite a historic state surplus.

The new two-year state budget will increase spending from $52 billion to $72 billion and raise taxes by almost $10 billion. This includes raising the state’s gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon and tying it to inflation, increasing license tab fees, adding a 50-cent delivery tax, applying a new payroll tax that will hit employers and employees alike, and more.

With such a large surplus we really had a chance to help Minnesota families and businesses this session by easing the impact higher prices is having on people in today’s economy. Instead, many of those dollars were put toward expanding our state budget by at least 40 percent, which will have ongoing impacts by committing taxpayers to future spending.

Meanwhile, Democrats failed to provide a full elimination of the state’s Social Security tax despite nearly universal support for that move. And, after Gov. Tim Walz began the session by supporting $2,000 surplus rebates for joint filers, Democrats ultimately approved just a fraction of that amount – $260 per person, or $520 per couple with an income threshold of $75,000/$150,000.

Legislative Republicans scored a big win for nursing homes by successfully negotiating for $300 million more than Democrats had proposed. This added funding will help that industry at a time nursing homes have been forced to close and families have been left scrambling to find care for their loved ones. I spoke in support of providing additional nursing home funding on the House floor and you can see that brief video here.

The additional nursing home funding was the lynch pin to bipartisan agreement on a $2.6 billion package to fund infrastructure projects throughout Minnesota. For our District 12B, funding was provided for Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management ($12.8 million), the city of Beardsley ($2 million) and Central Square in Glenwood ($4 million).

Local bonding projects and increased funding for nursing homes are two nice wins we had this session despite some of the headwinds we were facing. And I’m glad we were successful with dedicating an overpass by Glenwood in honor of the late Deputy Josh Owen. Here is a clip of me speaking on the House floor about honoring Deputy Owen.

Aside from state finances, Democrats enacted several highly controversial, partisan policy measures this year. This includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare for children and adopting gun-control laws that will do more to burden law-abiding citizens than thwart violent criminals. In addition, a Democrat provision will end electronic pull tabs as we know them, dealing a major blow to local charitable organizations.

Look for more news from the House as we make our way through the interim months. Until next time, I hope you enjoy this Memorial Day holiday weekend. As always, your input is welcome.