It’s been a busy week in St. Paul with much of our time this week spent on the House floor debating and voting on the House Democrat majority’s supplemental budget bills. As is the case with many omnibus bills, each of these legislative packages includes provisions that I would likely support on their merits. Unfortunately, when forced to take an up or down vote on the entirety of the legislative package, I am often unable to support these bills.
With government fully funded last year, it is unacceptable that Democrats are looking to increase spending by more than $7 billion this year—using up most of the state’s $9.3 billion budget surplus on growing the size of government.
In fact, they are proposing $21 in new spending for every $1 in tax cuts. This is unacceptable.
Below is a brief rundown of a few of the bills that were debated and voted on at the House of Representatives this week.
K-12 and Higher Education
This year’s supplemental education bill increases spending by more than $1 billion in 2023 with most of the funding going to Minneapolis and St. Paul. This is reflected in the per-pupil increase of $1,400 for Minneapolis/St. Paul versus $775 in greater Minnesota.
In addition to out-of-control spending, the bill imposes classroom mandates where bureaucrats, not parents, decide what’s best for students and where political indoctrination is more important than providing students with a well-rounded education needed to succeed. In total, the K-12 bill included around 150 policy changes!
The higher education bill included significant new funding for several projects that agencies weren’t specifically asking for all the while not doing anything to keep tuition costs down.
Transportation and State Government Finance
This bill combines several unrelated issues into a single bill including transportation, state government finance, and elections.
Included in the bill is a tremendous amount of new spending that grows the size of government and makes Minnesota government less efficient.
Additionally, Democrats’ election provisions in the bill abandon the decades-long standard that changes to elections in Minnesota should have broad bipartisan support. Instead, House Democrats are pushing policies that change how municipalities conduct elections and campaign finance changes that will have a chilling effect on free speech.
The transportation component of the bill includes millions of dollars to be spent on trains to Duluth and Chicago and less emphasis on roads and bridges.
The supplemental environment bill contains a 69% increase in spending compared to last year’s legislation. It also includes anti-business and anti-farming regulations that will make Minnesota a less welcoming state for job providers and farmers while raising costs for Minnesota families.
Today, Friday, the House is expected to approve Democrats’ public safety bill. My guess is that the bill will pass on a party-line vote with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.
Public safety is top of mind for most Minnesotans and this bill feels like a real missed opportunity where we could have come along side law enforcement and worked with them to keep our communities safe.
Instead of holding criminals accountable and funding law enforcement to combat the rise in violent crime, Democrats are reducing sentences and putting money towards unproven non-profit groups with little oversight. Additionally, the bill is opposed by all of Minnesota’s largest law enforcement organizations.
In contrast, House Republicans introduced a package of proposals earlier this year that would have enhanced criminal penalties for violent crimes, help recruit and retain law enforcement officers, and hold prosecutors and courts responsible for returning violent offenders back to the streets.
I will continue pushing hard for these commonsense reforms and am confident that the egregious policies in this bill will not become law thanks to the Republican majority in the Senate.
Staying in Touch
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day,