Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

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

Back to profile


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ST. PAUL – The 2015 legislative session has ended, and State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) said there are a number of good provisions that will positively impact Greater Minnesota.

"We have finally addressed the funding needs of rural nursing homes and provided new revenue to rural schools, and maybe most importantly, prevented a regressive gas tax increase from becoming law," Schomacker said.

In the area of health and human services, Schomacker said the legislature agreed to address rates for providers and improve access to quality care to our most vulnerable Minnesotans, provide expanded access for mental health and dental services for the poor, low income, and elderly, and fix unfair nursing home reimbursements that had been heavily slanted towards the Metro Area. In all, Schomacker said $150 million in new revenue will be allocated to nursing homes.

Schomacker said local schools also will receive funding increases, as the approved K-12 Education compromise provides a 1.5 percent funding increase to schools in 2016 and two percent in 2017.

In environment, changes were made to the way the DNR and MPCA interact with regulated parties on environmental review and enforcement process.

A transportation funding bill allocated $12.5 million in new revenue to assist small towns with populations under 5,000 residents with street repair projects, and another $5 million for Greater Minnesota transit.

But missing from this year's budget agreement is a long-range transportation funding proposal as well as tax relief for hardworking middle-class Minnesotans.

"Budget negotiations in these areas bogged down due to Governor Dayton's and the Senate
Democrats' insistence on raising taxes on gasoline," Schomacker said. "A recent state analysis found that when Minnesotans aren't spending as much as money on fuel, they're spending it on other things, which increases state revenues. With that in mind, especially when you consider Minnesota also has a $2 billion surplus, raising the cost of gasoline by a minimum of 16 cents per gallon made little sense."

"The good news is that roughly $1 billion of that surplus remains unspent, so hopefully the governor and the Senate majority will recognize the public isn't on board with an unnecessary tax increase, and will support our plan that dedicates $7 billion to road and bridge repair without raising anyone's taxes," Schomacker