The 2018 legislative session ended on a high-note late Sunday evening with the passage of a number of bills that would have a positive impact on Minnesotans across the state. Chief among these bills was a tax/education bill, supplemental finance bill, and a bonding bill.
Our tax/education plan conformed Minnesota’s tax code to changes made at the federal level while also providing the first income tax rate reduction in nearly 20 years. The plan also preserved a number of state and personal exemptions as well as a handful of deductions. In total, 2.2 million Minnesotans would benefit from this plan.
In addition to the tax changes, we passed an education plan that went above and beyond the “emergency” funding request made by Governor Dayton in the final weeks of session to address budget shortfalls affecting some school districts. Our plan freed up as much as $225 million to address these shortfalls.
The supplemental finance bill included a number provisions that were shared priorities between the governor and legislature including, but not limited to, important school safety funding, funding to help deputy registrars hurt by the MNLARS mess, funding to help avert a 7% cut for disability services, critical $16 million to combat Opioid abuse and more.
Unfortunately, and for reasons hard to understand or explain, Governor Dayton vetoed both of these bills. The reality is that the legislature did its part and made significant concessions and compromised in order in hopes of finding common ground with the governor. Sadly, this wasn’t enough.
Here is a brief list of People negatively affected by Gov. Dayton’s vetoes:
- Victims of elder abuse
- Victims of opioid addiction, and medical professionals
- Victims of distracted driving
- Special education and Head Start students
- People dealing with MNLARS hassles
- Deputy registrars whose businesses are floundering after MNLARS
- People who need mental health support, particularly farmers and students
- Farmers and agribusinesses that need Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation
- People who live in rural areas without high-speed internet
- Students who need help to afford college
- People who need job training and businesses that need skilled workers
- K-12 students who won’t benefit from school safety funding
- Taxpayers who will have a heck of a time filing their taxes next year
- Voters concerned about election security
- Minnesotans concerned about privacy, data breaches, and cyber security
- CPAs and tax professionals who will be dealing with very complex tax filings
- Parents looking to find the best school for their children
- Low-income working families who rely on federal child care subsidies
- New teachers who need licenses, and schools who want to hire them
- Children enrolled in Head Start programs
- Schools that need adjustments to fully fund special education
- Patients who care about transparent pricing for health care and prescription drugs
- People with disabilities, and their caretakers, who would be affected by a 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System
As you can see, the impact is widespread. All in all, it’s a sad day for Minnesota.
On a lighter note, the bonding bill that was passed during the final weekend of session included funding for the Highway 14 four lane expansion project from Owatonna to Dodge Center. The Highway 14 expansion has been in the works for years and is desperately needed for our area. I implore the governor to sign the bonding bill into law so this critically important project is can move forward.
That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts or concerns you may have about state government or the job I'm doing as your representative. It would be great to talk with you. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at email@example.com.
Thanks and have a great weekend,