ST. PAUL – The curtain has fallen on the 2022 legislative session, and State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said lawmakers delivered some successes and some failures.
“We were able to agree on some bigger ticket items this session, but I’m very disappointed we could not reach agreement on a comprehensive tax relief proposal and a capital investment plan,” Torkelson said. “Unfortunately, House Democrat leadership insisted on more permanent spending every step of the way, and because of this they were unable to get the job done.”
During the year, Torkelson said the House and Senate agreed to extend Minnesota’s reinsurance program, which significantly lowers health insurance premium rates for those Minnesotans who are forced to purchase it on the individual market, for five years and provided funding for it for three of those years. Lawmakers also authorized bonus checks to front-line workers who put their lives on the line to help the sick during the early stages of the pandemic. They also solved Minnesota’s unemployment insurance trust fund debt problem, which eliminated a 15% tax increase on every Minnesota employer.
But on what Torkelson believes are Minnesotans’ top two priorities – public safety and helping Minnesotans deal with the rising cost of living – House leadership did not bring compromise proposals forward.
“The good news is we didn’t have to pass any budget bills this year because this was not a budget year,” Torkelson said. “Barring an economic downturn, we are likely to begin the 2023 session with a significant surplus. This would allow the next legislature to regroup in January and provide significant and permanent tax relief to all Minnesotans, and I’m hopeful that will happen.”