Last week was the start of the 2019 Legislative Session. On Tuesday, I took the oath of office in the House Chamber with 133 other representatives. Although it was my fourth time taking the oath, it remains humbling and awe-inspiring each time I have the honor to do so. It is truly a privilege to serve our community.
The DFL House Majority unveiled their priorities by introducing House Files 1-10 on Thursday. I was disappointed to see that, even with a $1.5 billion surplus, none of these bills include a proposal that would lower taxes for Minnesota families. Additionally, these bills don’t include efforts to align the state and federal tax codes. Last session’s tax conformity legislation was vetoed by Governor Dayton. This year’s tax season begins on January 28, so it’s essential we move quickly on this issue to prevent unnecessary difficulties and tax increases.
I’m also concerned about the health care agenda being proposed by the Majority. The plan to restore the provider tax, one of the most regressive taxes in Minnesota, and implement a MinnesotaCare buy-in will bring hospitals increased costs and low reimbursement rates, which is going to be particularly devastating to rural communities. Lowering health care costs is a shared priority, but we need to find a new approach. Raising health care taxes is not going to lower health care costs.
The first committee meetings will be held this week, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find solutions to these issues that work for all Minnesotans. As always, I will also continue to fight for the priorities of our community.
If you have any input at any time throughout the legislative session, please feel free to contact my office. I welcome all of your communications and visits; your feedback as we draft these policies is invaluable.