Hello Friends and Neighbors,
Congratulations to the Red Wing girls’ hockey team on winning the section and returning to the state tournament! I’m very proud of the way the team represents our community, and I look forward to seeing what they can do next week at state.
In this week’s update, I wanted to provide a refresher of the impactful things we accomplished last session, as well as offer some insight into the session ahead.
2017 Legislative Session:
With session reconvening next Tuesday, I look forward to building on last year’s historically successful session. It was especially positive for Minnesota’s taxpayers, as we worked to pass the state’s largest tax relief in over two decades. Our tax bill contained $650 million in relief over the current biennium, and $790 million in 2020-21. Among the beneficiaries receiving significant relief are senior citizens, business owners, farmers, families, and college students.
We also passed a historic transportation investment in roads and bridges (without raising the gas tax) and made critical progress towards lowering health care costs and increasing access to coverage. In addition to emergency premium relief early last session, my house Republican colleagues and I enacted a reinsurance program, which has put an end to four consecutive years of double-digit premium increases. Furthermore, we passed legislation to provide K-12 education with $1.3 billion of increased funding along with significant reforms designed to ensure the best possible teachers for Minnesota’s students.
2018 Legislative Session:
With the state’s budget balanced after last year, the 2018 session’s focus will be on policy reforms and statewide bonding projects. Like last year’s bill, any bonding bill the legislature approves this session will be geographically balanced and be focused heavily on ensuring the infrastructure and transportation needs of our communities are met. I have already introduced three bills for bonding projects in our area that I will be working to have included in the final bill; I will be sure to keep you updated on them as they begin their way through the legislative process.
A top priority that will need to be dealt with this session is federal tax conformity. In order to make sure Minnesota’s taxpayers can smoothly file their taxes in the years to come, and enjoy the full benefit of the tax bill passed in Congress, it is essential that we bring Minnesota’s tax code into compliance with the recently changed federal code. At the core of our efforts will be a commitment to ensuring that any additional revenue generated by conforming is returned to the hardworking taxpayers of Minnesota.
Another issue that you will likely hear more about as the session progresses is our state’s MNLARS system. Many of you have personally experienced significant complications and frustrations with this failed system. Minnesotans have already provided nearly $100 million in funding for it, and now the Department of Transportation is requesting an additional $43 million to address ongoing problems. The taxpayers of Minnesota deserve a working system, and we will continue to explore all options in order to solve the problems and hold MNDOT accountable.
Legislation that I am personally working on:
I will continue to work on legislation focused on health care, education and workforce issues. As I write this update I am finalizing bills to:
- Address the high health insurance costs in our district compared to other areas of the state.
- Provide high school students with relevant career and technical experiences that they can transfer to college and employment opportunities.
- Change the way state grants are allocated to our local workforce centers so that we can be more strategic and effective in addressing workforce gaps.
- Provide loan counseling so student’s can pay-off their college debt.
Staying in Touch:
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 651-296-8635.