Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

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

Back to profile

Mekeland: 2024 session underscores more balance needed in St. Paul

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Legislature adjourned Monday, putting a bow on a two-year cycle Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, said was marked by reckless spending, needless tax increases, extreme policies and broken promises with Democrats in full control of the Capitol.

With the record $18 billion surplus last year, Mekeland said Minnesotans deserved meaningful tax cuts at a time when in?ation and rising costs of living have family budgets stretched thin. Instead, he said House Democrats went on a spending spree, increasing the budget by 40% – the largest budget increase in Minnesota history – and raising taxes by $10 billion in the process.

When the 2024 session began, Mekeland said Democrats were right back at it, raising the cost of a new worker leave program by half a billion dollars before it even begins, and many other unpopular and unnecessary tax and fee increases that take money out of the pockets of Minnesota families.

“There are no limits with Democrats in full control of the Capitol,” Mekeland said. “If we don’t restore balance in St. Paul, there’s no telling how much worse things will get in our state between the outrageous spending and radical policies the Democrats are enacting. They continue passing bills that cater to a very small group of activists at the expense of most Minnesotans and it needs to end – now.”

Along the way, Mekeland said Democrats officially put Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for a $730 million State Office Building remodel despite Republicans proposing more reasonably priced alternatives.

Mekeland said Republicans spent part of the 2024 session successfully resolving significant problems he said Democrats created in 2023. Most notably, he said this includes a fix to the tax bill, getting school resource officers back in all the buildings they had been serving, and correcting a net-operating loss issue. Legislation Republicans championed to provide an additional $30 million for Emergency Ambulance Service Aid also received legislative approval.

Mekeland indicated Democrats enacted several highly controversial, partisan policy measures with one party in control the last two years. he said this includes adopting some of the world’s most extreme abortion policy, enacting a state-funded speech registry that could undermine First Amendment rights, and declaring Minnesota a sanctuary state for transgender healthcare – for children. In addition, Mekeland said a Democrat provision ended electronic pull tabs as we knew them, dealing a major blow to local charitable organizations.

“Just a couple of years ago, nobody could have imagined the things one-party control passed in 2023 and 2024,” Mekeland said. “But here we are, where one party in control is so bent on passing activist-driven legislation that it’s holding up other legislation that would actually help Minnesotans, from last year’s nursing home funding to this year’s EMS funding. They Democrats are literally playing with people’s lives to extract every drop of power they can while they have total control of the Capitol. I imagine many reasonable Democrats in Minnesota are looking at these last two years and shaking their head because they didn’t sign up for this.”

Religious freedom was another high-profile issue this session after Democrats last year eliminated religious protections against discrimination claims that had been in our state for decades. A variation of Republican legislation was enacted into law this session re-establishing protections for religious entities.

Mekeland said a number of things that did not happen this biennium were the result of Democrats failing to deliver on promises they made to Minnesotans. In particular, he said this includes voting against bills that would ensure our of?cers have the resources they need, not achieving full Social Security tax relief, and not providing $2,000 rebate checks.