Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Congratulations to the Wabasha-Kellogg seniors who graduated this past Sunday! Best of luck to the Class of 2018 in all their future endeavors.
Before we get to legislative news, I wish everyone an enjoyable Memorial Day as we pay tribute to the brave individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy as Americans.
On Sunday we wrapped up the 2018 legislative session by passing and sending to the governor a tax conformity and education funding bill, a supplemental budget bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill. Unfortunately, yesterday Governor Dayton vetoed the tax/school funding bill and supplemental budget bill. These vetoes are extremely disappointing, as they will have far-reaching consequences that will negatively impact millions of Minnesotans. The legislature made a good-faith effort to compromise and made significant concessions, removing nearly 70 percent of the governor’s stated objections. The governor’s unwillingness to earnestly engage in the negotiating process with the legislature suggests a disinterest in true compromise on his part. These bills contained a host of critically important provisions, and it’s unfortunate that yesterday’s vetoes mean countless Minnesotans will suffer and be left to face the consequences of this politicized move.
The tax conformity and education bill were part of an effort to find compromise with the governor on each of our respective top priorities. House Republicans’ federal tax conformity plan protected taxpayers, simplified Minnesota's tax code, and provided the first income tax rate cut in nearly two decades. The bill also made available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, providing new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
Meanwhile, the supplemental budget bill contained shared priorities like ensuring safe schools—a top priority of both Republicans and Governor Dayton this year, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to the wages of caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
However, as a result of yesterday’s vetoes, none of this will happen this year. Below is a list of the groups of people who will be negatively affected by the governor’s vetoes:
- K-12 students who won’t benefit from school safety funding
- Taxpayers who will have a difficult time filing their taxes next year
- Victims of opioid addiction and elder abuse
- Special education and Head Start students
- Deputy registrars hurt by the MNLARS mess
- Farmers and small businesses 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
- CPAs and tax professionals who will be dealing with very complex tax filings
- Low-income working families who rely on federal child care subsidies
- 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
Still awaiting the governor’s action is the infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced bonding bill that the House passed. This package prioritizes statewide infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges and water infrastructure. It also dedicates funding for the construction of three new veterans homes in greater Minnesota, and provides funding for the renovation of existing homes. Specific to our district, the bonding bill contains funding for the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, the Goodhue County Historical Society, and the Mississippi Blufflands Trail. This is a good bill that will help create jobs and benefit communities across the state, and I am hopeful for the governor’s final approval.
Even with these harmful vetoes, I believe we have accomplished a number of positive things for Minnesota over the past two years, including the largest tax cut in nearly two decades for hardworking taxpayers, 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 for Minnesota families.
Staying in Touch
It was a privilege to work for you at the Capitol this session. Thank you to everyone that took the time to contact me and visit during the legislative session. As summer gets underway, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns that you have on any issue relating to state government. I can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-8635.