Before the weekend gets underway, I would like to wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend as we take time to honor and remember the brave individuals of our armed forces who have given their lives in defense of our freedom.
On Sunday we wrapped up the 2018 legislative session by passing and sending to the governor a tax conformity and education funding bill, a supplemental budget bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill.
Unfortunately, earlier this week Governor Dayton vetoed the tax/school funding bill and supplemental budget bill. These vetoes are extremely disappointing, as they will have far-reaching consequences that will negatively impact millions of Minnesotans. The legislature made a good-faith effort to compromise, making significant concessions and removing nearly 70 percent of the governor’s stated objections. These bills contained a host of critically important provisions, and it’s unfortunate that yesterday’s vetoes mean countless Minnesotans will suffer and be left to face the consequences of this move.
The tax conformity and education bill were part of an effort to find compromise with the governor on a shared priority. House Republicans’ federal tax conformity plan protected taxpayers, simplified Minnesota's tax code, and provided the first income tax rate cut in nearly two decades. The bill also made available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, providing new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
The supplemental budget bill contained shared priorities like ensuring safe schools—a top priority of both Republicans and the governor this year, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a 7 percent cut to the wages of caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
However, as a result of the vetoes, none of this will happen this year. Below is a list of some the groups of people who will be negatively affected by the governor’s vetoes:
- Victims of elder abuse & opioid addiction – vetoed fixes for these problems areas
- Victims of distracted driving – vetoed strengthening penalties
- People with disabilities, and their caretakers – vetoed fix to federal 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System
- Citizens & deputy vehicle registrars – vetoed help with dealing with MNLARS hassles
- K-12 students – vetoed school safety funding, support for Head Start and Special Education programs
- Minnesota Taxpayers – vetoed a fix that was fair to everyone, now a large number of Minnesotans will see major increased in their next year’s state income tax bill
- Low-income working families – vetoed state help on federal child care subsidies
- Patients – vetoed transparent pricing for health care and prescription drugs
- Businesses and farmers – vetoed Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation
As I mentioned above, the governor’s vetoes also prevent various fixes for Minnesota’s opioid crisis. This includes the allocation of $2 million in funding for the opioid abuse prevention pilot project currently being carried out by Little Falls’ CHI St. Gabriel’s. This program has been an early leader in Minnesota’s efforts to fight the opioid crisis, and administers and assists other prevention programs statewide. In the midst of the opioid crisis, I am especially disappointed that this will not be enacted, as these dollars would have had an immeasurable impact on our state’s ongoing efforts to solve this devastating problem.
Still awaiting the governor’s action is the infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced bonding bill that the House passed. This package prioritizes statewide infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges and water infrastructure. It also dedicates funding for the construction of three new veterans homes in greater Minnesota, and provides funding for the renovation of existing homes. I remain hopeful for the governor’s final approval, as this bill will help create jobs and benefit communities across the state.
Even with the vetoes of the tax/education and supplemental budget bill, we have had an incredibly productive past two years. We have provided Minnesotans with the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, critical health care reforms and significant investments in students and schools. I look forward to taking up many of the issues that were vetoed again next session, and I am eager to continue to work for the people and shared priorities of Minnesota.
Please Contact Me
It was a privilege to represent you at the Capitol this session. Thank you to everyone that took the time to contact me and visit during the legislative session. This summer, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns that you have on any issue relating to state government. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 651-296-4247.
Have a great weekend,