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

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Thursday, July 1, 2021

ST/ PAUL – A special session of the Minnesota Legislature has ended with a budget that will fund all state government programs for the next two years.


“Approving a budget for next biennium was the Legislature’s top priority this session,” said State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska). “As a state lawmaker, you are tasked with weighing the pros and cons of each budget bill and determining the best way to vote for your district. When those bills contain dozens or hundreds of provisions, that can be a tall order.”


Following a year where Minnesotans watched Minneapolis burn and inner-city Democrats called on lawmakers to ‘defund the police,’ Torkelson said the approved public safety budget bill defeated numerous measures brought forward by Democrats that were anti-police or would have made it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs.


In response to the alarming spike in attacks on law enforcement officers, the legislation included the Officer Arik Matson bill which strengthens punishments against those who attempt to murder law enforcement. Matson, who strongly supported the proposal, is the former Waseca police officer who was shot in the head after responding to a call.


In transportation, the Legislature was able to increase funding 22% above base without raising any taxes or tab fees. This transportation bill also includes revenue for local roads and bridges, and continues the Small Cities Assistance Program that provides revenue to towns to make street repairs.


There’s also good news for Minnesota’s taxpayers, as the final budget agreement defeated $1 billion in tax increases that had been previously approved by the House Democrat majority and instead actually included some tax relief. Local schools will also see funding increases.


“While I’m disappointed this work wasn’t finalized during our regular session, I am thrilled that the Legislature was able to put an end to the Governor’s Executive Powers. It’s good that the State of Minnesota now has a budget in place and can move forward,” Torkelson concluded.