This week, the House finished work on its 2019 omnibus finance bills. These bills represent the entirety of the DFL majority’s budget proposal. As you have come to understand from previous newsletters, the DFL’s budget spends a lot and taxes even more. In fact, across the entirety of their budget, DFLers are seeking to raise your taxes by more than $12 billion over the next four years.
On Monday, Democrats approved their transportation finance bill. The bill includes a 70% gas tax increase that would add an additional 20-cents to every gallon of gas purchased in Minnesota.
In addition to the gas tax, the bill also includes hundreds of millions in other taxes on registration fees, a suburban sales tax increase, and more. Minnesotans understand that we can afford to fund basic priorities like roads and bridges without making their lives more expensive.
Just last session, House Republicans made one of the largest investments in our roads and bridges without raising the gas tax. We were able to do this by statutorily dedicating already existing revenue streams to be spent on improving roads and bridges.
In total, the Democrat transportation plan raises taxes by $4.01 billion over the next four years.
I was proud to vote “no” on this bill and am hopeful that the Senate will be able to hold the line on these excessive fees and taxes.
Early Tuesday morning, around 1:30 am, Democrats approved the 2019 public safety omnibus finance bill.
Included in the bill were two contentious gun control provisions.
One of the measures places new burdens on gun owners and creates several new restrictive requirements, including background checks, on the private transfer of firearms. It also only allows one firearm per permit to purchase, which expires after 30 days, and imposes a requirement for private parties to keep records in perpetuity. Even transfers between friends would require individuals to pay a fee, and individuals would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor if they misplaced transfer paperwork and were unable to produce it to authorities.
The other measure implements a so-called “red-flag” law by permitting the removal of a person’s firearms if a court grants an order for an extreme risk protection order. This could be done through an ex-parte process where the accused is not present to offer a counter to the accusation, raising concerns about due process. Under the proposal, law enforcement would be responsible for delivering the order and executing the firearm seizure without the accused knowing an accusation has been made against them.
This bill was an easy “no” vote for me as I have been a life-long supporter of the 2nd Amendment.
I was also concerned with provisions in the bill that would soften sentencing and criminal penalties in Minnesota.
The House approved a number of other finance bills this week including legislation related to agriculture, higher education, environment and natural resources, and state government finance.
Like with the other bills approved this week, these omnibus packages contained some provisions that I would have supported as standalone items. However, when voting on omnibus bills, you must take into account the totality of the spending and policy provisions that have been included in the package. For those reasons, I was unable to support the majority of these bills as they grow government and spend your tax dollars at an unsustainable rate.
Staying in Touch
Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. I was blessed to join fellow lawmakers in praying for our state and our nation.
That’s all for this week’s update. I will have more for you as the session progresses. In the meantime, I urge you to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5356 or via email at email@example.com.
Have a good weekend,