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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Josh Heintzeman

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

The 2018 legislative session adjourned a week ago, Sunday. The final weekend of session saw the passage of a compromise tax conformity and education bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to the Governor's desk for consideration as well as a supplemental finance bill.

Unfortunately, the governor vetoed both the supplemental finance bill and the tax conformity/education bill last week, blocking the first income tax rate reduction in nearly two decades, funding to help deputy registrars hurt by the MNLARS mess, funding to help avert a 7% cut for disability services, school safety funding, and more.

The legislature addressed nearly 70% of the specific concerns the governor had with the bills, and provided up to $84 million in new funding for schools ($225 million in total when flexibility measures are added), meeting the governor more than halfway on his key priorities and concerns. Nevertheless, he decided to veto the bills.

I am very disappointed that Governor Dayton once again showed immense partisanship and vetoed this much needed legislation. These bills represented a great deal of compromise from the House and Senate in an effort to do what is right for Minnesotans and reach agreement with the governor. Instead, he has decided to play politics and now millions of Minnesotans will have to suffer the consequences.

Here is a brief list of just a few of the groups that will be negatively impacted by the governor’s actions:

  • 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.

Fortunately, not all hope is lost as the legislature still had a productive two years that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.

In other news, Governor Dayton signed the bonding bill into law on Wednesday. This bill was geographically balanced and provided general obligation bonds to fund construction and critical infrastructure maintenance and preservation throughout the state.

The bill included $4.143 million to renovate the National Guard’s Brainerd Readiness Center, known locally as the Brainerd Armory.

Here’s a breakdown of the funding included in the bill:

  • $178 asset preservation
  • $123 million for water-related projects taken from the LCCMR provision I authored
    • $20 million for flood work
  • $208 million for higher education construction
  • $541 for transportation
  • $32 million for veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji, and Montevideo
  • $28 million for mental health crisis centers

That’s all for this week. As always, I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at

Have a great week,