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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, January 6, 2023


The House returned to the Capitol this week to kick off the 2023 session and it feels good to be back fully in-person after conducting much of our business remotely during the pandemic. I’m honored and humbled to continue representing the people of our area in the House.

The start of the new session signaled change with the new legislative maps now taking effect. I certainly enjoyed representing residents of Rockford township and welcome people in the Kingston and Clearwater area of District 29A boundaries that I haven’t yet had the pleasure to serve. I will continue doing my best to provide constituents with a strong presence at the Capitol as I advocate for our best interests.

As noted in a previous email, many of the decisions we face this year will relate to the state’s $17.6 billion surplus. Real, meaningful tax relief must be a top priority for the 2023 session so Minnesotans can keep more of their money month after month and year after year instead of settling for one-time checks the governor has proposed.

Unfortunately, with the DFL trifecta, I don’t believe permanent and meaningful tax cuts will be on the table for most Minnesotans. They seem more focused on paid family sick leave, codification of abortion in our states constitution, legalizing of marijuana, tax increases on our business community, climate change initiatives (including utilities generating 100% of our electricity from renewable sources for clean carbon-free sources by 2040, which will be very expensive for rate payers) and many more divisive and controversial proposals. 

A push to “fully fund education” also is on their agenda. While that sounds good in theory, it's not clear exactly what that entails. While I believe funding education is of the utmost importance, our Wright County schools are shorted by the state's convoluted school funding formula compared with Twin Cities and suburban school districts. School funding reforms are needed in education, along with teaching reading writing math history science and not the controversial critical race theory and the over-sexualization of our children at a young ages. 

I will have more on our Republican solutions with other important issues later as the session unfolds. Your input always is welcome, so please share your thoughts and ideas. For now, here is some other information I’d like to pass along:

House of Representatives info links

First-time farm purchase grants

Applications are now being accepted for a new grant program to support Minnesotans purchasing their first farm. The Down Payment Assistance Grant Program is managed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and it offers dollar-for-dollar matching up to $15,000 for qualified small farmers to purchase farmland.

The MDA’s Rural Finance Authority (RFA) is awarding this funding using a first-come, first-served application process and expects to award between 30 and 40 grants in this cycle, depending on the size of requests. A second cycle of $750,000 in funding has been secured and will be made available on July 1.

Farmers must be Minnesota residents who will earn less than $250,000 annually in gross agricultural sales and plan on providing the majority of the day-to-day physical labor on the farm for at least five years. Applicants must not have previous direct or indirect farmland ownership.

Applications will continue to be accepted until a waitlist of 100 applicants forms, or May 15, 2023, whichever comes first. The application and more information on the grant program can be found at this link.

Best wishes,


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