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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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Legislative update

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Memorial Day

Dear Neighbor,

Here’s wishing you and yours an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend as we honor our true American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our nation. God bless these patriots who served so selflessly and may your legacies remain strong.

As for official business, the 2023 legislative session adjourned Monday night. It will be most remembered for a Democrat trifecta treating a narrow majority as a sweeping mandate for passing a far-left agenda. Alpha News has compiled a comprehensive list of the radical legislation Democrats approved this session; it's worth a read.

From an overall standpoint, the new two-year state budget Democrats approved will increase spending by more than 40 percent, from $52 billion to $72 billion. And Democrats approved almost $10 billion in tax increases despite a $17.5 billion state surplus. This includes raising the state’s gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon and tying it to inflation, increasing license tab fees, adding a 50-cent delivery tax, a new payroll tax that will hit employers and employees alike, and more.

It was clear from the start of this session the Democrat trifecta had no interest in doing what was best for everyday Minnesotans and were bent on catering to metro-centric activists with carve-outs for their political allies. They are using a paper-thin majority to push an extreme agenda on the whole state. Democrats passed mandates into law this session so extreme numerous lawsuits likely are to be filed in short order, costing taxpayers even more. This could have been avoided but, instead of listening to Minnesotans, the Democrats muzzled half of Minnesota and continued pushing measures that only serve to divide people in our state.

Meanwhile, Democrats failed to provide a full elimination of the state’s Social Security tax despite nearly universal support for that move. And, after Gov. Tim Walz began the session by supporting $2,000 surplus rebates for joint filers, Democrats ultimately approved just a fraction of that amount – $260 per person, or $520 per couple with income thresholds of $75,000/$150,000 to qualify.

In reality, these rebates will be far outweighed by the nearly $10 billion in tax increases Democrats approved. In fact, those who do qualify for a rebate might want to just consider it a stipend to pay for one month of tax increases we’re about to suffer.

Aside from state finances, Democrats enacted several highly controversial, partisan policy measures. This includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare for children and adopting gun-control laws that will do more to burden law-abiding citizens than stop violent criminals.

The list goes on and on, but let’s just say Democrats went far beyond what most would deem reasonable this session and will have to answer to Minnesotans for that. They increased taxes beyond what many can afford, raised state spending to unsustainable levels and passed radical legislation only select groups want – starting with ending e-pull tabs as we know them and putting our abortion policy on par with radical regimes in North Korea and China. They also made our energy grid more unaffordable, unreliable and dangerous. That’s just the start of the damage this Democrat trifecta is causing and why it can’t be trusted.

On the other hand, I am pleased legislative Republicans scored a big win for nursing homes by successfully negotiating $300 million more than Democrats had previously proposed providing them. Democrats only approved $3.96 million for nursing homes until we Republicans held our ground to secure more funding for our seniors. It is good they came around to doing the right thing after being so far in the wrong on this issue. This added funding will help that industry at a time nursing homes have been forced to close and families have been left scrambling to find care for their loved ones.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this session as I have more time to look back on it and sort through the rubble. Until then, have a good Memorial Day weekend and please stay in touch.



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