We wrapped up the session on Saturday morning after reaching agreement with the Senate on a 2-year state budget. Minnesotans rightfully expect the legislature to compromise and get the work done, and I’m glad we were able to deliver on this. Governor Walz signed into law the state budget bills today.
You can find a comprehensive review of which measures passed and those that did not here.
In my last update, I shared some brief highlights of the budget agreement reached between the House, Senate and Governor. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide some detail on key components of the state budget.
Our compromise tax bill will deliver targeted tax cuts and credits for families, seniors, farmers, and small businesses.
Here’s a breakdown of what I’m most excited about:
Federal Conformity: Conforming to federal tax law will help ensure that tax filing season is simplified and beneficial to Minnesota taxpayers. This was achieved in our tax budget bill.
Social Security and Second-Tier Income Tax Cuts: The final tax bill includes Social Security tax exemptions for married couples filing joint returns, and for single and head of household taxpayers. There’s also targeted tax cuts for the 2nd Income Tax Bracket earners, bringing the rate down from 7.05% to 6.8% permanently beginning in Tax Year 2019.
Angel Investment Tax Credit: This program spurs economic growth and builds on Minnesota’s existing ecosystem of high tech, high innovation companies, including the state’s clean energy technology companies. It’s also an important tool for wealth creation in communities across the state. The policy changes passed in the tax bill will especially benefit targeted businesses, including those owned by people of color, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and businesses owned by people with disabilities.
The final compromise E-12 education budget will increase the per-pupil funding formula by 2% in 2020 and by another 2% in 2021. There is also funding to freeze the special education shortfalls or ‘cross subsidy’. The House proposal would have directed more investments toward special education to address the financial hardships our public schools are facing, but this is a good first step. The final education budget also extends voluntary pre-k programs for 4,000 Minnesota children. I am also pleased my legislation to expand school-linked mental health grants for students was also included, in addition to dyslexia screening in K-12 schools. My bill to deliver MacPhail music access to rural communities was also incorporated.
The bulk of spending in the transportation budget bill comes from the General Fund and is designated for a Minnesota License and Registration System (MNLARS) replacement system, funding for Metro Mobility, and reimbursements for deputy registrars who have experienced losses related to the MNLARS rollout. A gasoline tax was not included in the final transportation budget.
Looking ahead, it’s imperative for us to consider long-term and dedicated funding not only to maintain our roads and bridges, but to secure a safe, sustainable and reliable transportation system for the future. Transit needs to be a part of this equation as well.
Minnesotans across the state deserve a serious long-term solution not just a short-term, band-aid fix. I am open to ideas and suggestions for ways we can achieve this goal.
As I mentioned in my previous update, we worked hard to protect health care access for over a million Minnesotans. A cornerstone of our work on health care includes successfully addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs. Too many Minnesotans are struggling with the soaring costs of the prescription medication they rely on and I’m committed to continuing the work on lowering these prices. I am pleased my legislation to make improvements to the medical cannabis program was incorporated. My bill to expand the Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee membership to two deaf members was included in the final health budget as well.
Additionally, Tobacco 21 did not make it into the budget, but addressing tobacco addiction among our youth remains a priority for next year.
Public Safety Legislation
Another bipartisan bill of mine passed into law and requires predatory offender notice be provided to licensed home care providers. All Minnesotans deserve to be safe while they are working and I’m glad this long overdue measure made it across the finish line.
Priorities for the Future
Our final state budget is the first step on a much longer road toward a more prosperous, more equal state. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to prioritize important measures such as emergency insulin affordability and accessibility, gun violence prevention, sustainable and long-term funding for our transportation infrastructure, and clean energy initiatives so that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to stay safe and healthy.
Keep in Touch
Although we’ve adjourned for the year, I’ll continue working for Edina throughout the interim. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with feedback and ideas for 2020.
It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol!