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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Anne Neu Brindley (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Anne Neu

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friends and Neighbors,

I would like to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend as we honor and pay tribute to the brave Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending the freedoms that are the foundation of our great nation.

This week Governor Dayton signed into law the bill I authored to close loopholes surrounding snowmobile/ATV use for individuals convicted of DWIs. I am pleased to see this become law this year, as this is an important fix that I believe can protect innocent lives and prevent future tragedies.

However, on Wednesday I was extremely disappointed to learn that the governor vetoed the tax conformity/education bill and the supplemental budget bill. These vetoes put political gamesmanship above the needs of everyday Minnesotans around the state, and their effects will negatively impact countless Minnesotans. The legislature removed nearly 70 percent of the governor’s stated objections as we worked to find compromise that could be agreed upon by all. The governor ultimately remained unwilling to earnestly engage in the negotiating process with the legislature, suggesting a disinterest in real compromise on his part. Wednesday’s vetoes will prevent numerous vitally important provisions from becoming law, and it’s unfortunate that millions of Minnesotans will be harmed as a result.

The tax conformity and education bill represented our efforts 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’s education component made available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor repeatedly requested, providing new money and flexibility for schools to address budget shortfalls.

Meanwhile, the supplemental budget bill contained shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a 7 percent cut to the wages of caregivers of disabled Minnesotans. Also included in the package was legislation I worked on this year to provide $15 million in rural broadband funding – critical infrastructure in Chisago County and countless other communities in greater Minnesota.

Although these bill include many great things for our state, Wednesday’s vetoes effectively blocked them from becoming law this year. Below is a list of some of the groups that will be harmed:

  • Victims of elder abuse & opioid addiction – vetoed fixes for these problems areas
  • People with disabilities, and their caretakers – vetoed fix to federal 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System
  • Citizens & deputy vehicle registrars – vetoed help with dealing with MNLARS hassles
  • Farmers and businesses – vetoed Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation
  • Rural residents – vetoed funding for high-speed internet expansion
  • K-12 students – vetoed school safety funding, support for Head Start and Special Education programs
  • Minnesota Taxpayers – vetoed a fix that was fair to everyone, now a large number of Minnesotans will see major increases in their next year’s state income tax bill
  • Low-income working families – vetoed state help on federal child care subsidies
  • Patients – vetoed transparent pricing for health care and prescription drugs
  • Victims of distracted driving – vetoed strengthening penalties

Nonetheless, our infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced bonding bill still awaits the governor’s action. This package prioritizes statewide infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges and water infrastructure. It also prioritizes our state’s aging veterans by funding the construction of three new veterans homes in greater Minnesota, and providing funding for the renovation of existing homes. Specific to our area, the bonding bill includes $3 million for the important reconstruction of Highway 8.  This is a good, bipartisan bill that will benefit our community and others around the state. I remain hopeful it can earn the governor’s signature next week.

These harmful vetoes aside, we accomplished a number of positive things for Minnesota over the past two years, putting together one of the most productive stretches in recent memory. Highlights include 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, and reforms to lower health care costs for Minnesota families.

Contact Me

Thank you to everyone that took the time to visit or contact me this session.  This summer, please feel free to reach out with any questions or thoughts that you have on any issue related to state government.  I greatly value the input I receive from constituents, as it helps me to best represent our communities.