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

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Legislative update

Friday, May 12, 2023

Dear Neighbor,

We are inching toward the end of the 2023 session, with our May 22 deadline for adjournment drawing nearer and most of this year’s budget bills unresolved. That’s not to say those bills won’t come together soon, it’s just a matter of the Democrat trifecta in St. Paul deciding how much to tax and spend. Here is some of the latest from the House, along with a few other timely messages:

Mother's Day

Mother's Day 2021

Happy Mother’s Day to moms in our district and throughout Minnesota. Thank you for all you do each and every day, and I hope you are able to spend extra time in the company of loved ones as we celebrate this holiday. We may have a cloudy/rainy weekend in store, but may the sun shine on you in other ways.

Fishing opener


Minnesota’s fishing opener is this weekend and I want to wish good luck to those who plan to participate. As a side note, anglers and boaters might be interested to know the omnibus environment package House Democrats voted to approve raises fees for fishing, boating and visiting state parks. Those increases could be in place by next year – pending the final form of this bill that remains a work in progress.

Teacher Appreciation Week


Here’s a shout-out to teachers in our district as we celebrate Teachers Appreciation Week to recognize their dedication to educating and preparing our children for a lifetime of success. Thanks for all you do!

Home stretch of session

As a whole, legislation the House majority proposed this session is the most extreme I’ve seen during my time in office. Let’s start with the fact it would increase state spending by 40 percent and raise taxes by $9.5 billion at a time the state has a $17.5 billion surplus. It’s hard to wrap your mind around those kinds of increases, especially our government giving itself a 40-percent raise at a time Minnesotans are having to stretch their dollars further these days. Bills Democrats are in the process of enacting into law will have severe consequences for Minnesota families, nursing homes, schools, businesses, and beyond. It is unfortunate to see such a paper-thin majority viewed as a mandate to push such a partisan, activist-driven agenda instead of working toward agreements that address the priorities of our state and help all Minnesotans.

Here are just some of the areas of concern:

Taxpayer-funded tuition

The House and Senate Democrat majorities both provided final approval for a higher education package that provides taxpayer-funded college tuition to resident students whose families have adjusted gross incomes of less than $80,000. The issues with “free” college are that it isn’t actually free; taxpayers are paying for it and it’s a significant investment that was not vetted by the House. Free college could promote financial irresponsibility because there is no skin in the game on behalf of the recipient. It also reduces state programs in other essential areas and it doesn’t eliminate the other costs of attending college.

Nursing Homes

Minnesota's Nursing Home industry is suffering a crisis and faces dire consequences from Democrats failing to invest in nursing home care for seniors. The House Democrat budget proposal is hundreds of millions of dollars short of meeting the urgent needs that exist.

Minnesota Taxpayers

Democrats propose nearly $10 billion in tax increases despite the record $17.5 billion budget surplus. This includes the House Democrats’ widely unpopular delivery taxes, along with billions in sales tax increases, payroll taxes, fee increases, and unnecessary tax and fee increases that take money out of the pockets of Minnesota families. Unfortunately, a full exemption of the state tax on Social Security is not in the Democrats’ plan.


The House Democrat education proposal includes dozens of new, unfunded mandates on Minnesota schools. Paired with proposed worker leave taxes, many school districts have expressed concern the Democrat budget proposal would put them into an operating deficit, even taking into account proposed formula increases. House Republicans offered an alternative education budget proposal that would have put substantial new increases toward the per-pupil formula, without the harmful mandates put forward by Democrats.

Business Mandates

Proposed tax increases, paired with billions of dollars in new business mandates proposed by Democrats have caused significant concern from Minnesota businesses of all sizes. This includes their proposed fifth-tier income tax that would impact many small businesses that file through their personal income taxes and give Minnesota one of the highest top tax brackets in the nation. Paid leave and sick time mandates would add billions in new taxes on both employers and employees and put an additional strain on Minnesota's already tight labor force.

Vets bill receives final approval

The Minnesota House this week provided final approval for an omnibus veterans and military affairs finance package, with minor tweaks from the version that gained preliminary passage last month.

The bill (H.F. 1937) funds Minnesota’s National Guard members and veterans after their service to our state and nation concludes – with appropriations for the state’s next two-year budget cycle. The final version provides $383 million in total General Fund spending for programs to help veterans over the 2024-25 biennium – a $128 million increase from current levels. In total funding, this includes $94.5 million for the Dept. of Military Affairs and $288.5 million for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

House Republicans successfully added numerous provisions to the bill that were retained by the conference committee for the final bill. It was good to see bipartisanship involvement in shaping this bill and it was approved on a 131-0 vote in the House.

Have a good weekend and watch for more as we reach the conclusion of the 2023 session.



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