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

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Friday, July 2, 2021

ST. PAUL – On July 1, the Minnesota House adjourned a special session after approving a new state budget. State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) said the special session was necessary as House and Senate leadership did not approve a budget prior to the end of the 2021 regular session.


“We’ve approved one or two budget bills in previous special sessions, but never have we worked on the entire budget after session ended in May,” Schomacker said. “Lawmakers had much to accomplish in a short amount of time. This didn't come as a surprise given the billions in cash that the state received from the latest round of federal stimulus dollars.”


Schomacker reviewed some of the highlights of the approved budget plan. They include:


TRANSPORTATION: Increased funding 22% above base without raising any taxes or tab fees. Provided new revenue for local roads and bridges, and continued the Small Cities Assistance Program that provides revenue to towns to make street repairs.


TAXES: Conformed with the federal stimulus bills and not tax PPP grants to businesses or unemployment benefits to those out of work during the pandemic.


K-12 EDUCATION: Provided new money to our schools with a 4.45% biennial formula funding increase.


AGRICULTURE: Provided $6 million for biofuel infrastructure grants to help facilitate the equipment upgrades necessary to handle the E15 blend of fuel; $2.9 million to supplement the Agricultural Best Management Practices Loan program, which helps farmers implement practices on their land to improve soil and water quality, and continued funding for mental health specialists, farm safety grants, livestock processing and meat science, Second Harvest Heartland food banks, youth agriculture grants, and farm to school programs.


PUBLIC SAFETY: Increased the penalty for those who attempt to murder law enforcement officers. Approved numerous provisions that will ensure justice is served for victims of sexual assault.