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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nathan Nelson (R)

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

With May upon us, only days remain before the 2021 Minnesota legislative session is constitutionally mandated to end. And a pair of lawmakers’ most important to-do items remain outstanding.


Our top priority this session was to set a state budget for the next two years. While House and Senate leadership have both passed their versions, compromise plans have not been reached. This is problematic as every area within state government, such as agriculture, K-12 Education, transportation and others, are waiting for conference committees to complete their negotiations and present proposals that can be approved by both legislative bodies.


The biggest reason this is being held up is the House DFL majority has refused to drop its demands for billions of dollars in tax hikes. The House majority has pushed for billions in tax hikes that would raise taxes and fees on gasoline, license tabs, Main Street businesses, and middle-class Minnesotans. This despite the fact that Minnesota has a $1.6 billion state surplus, and billions more in federal money coming through pandemic relief.  


The other problem remains the governor’s continued use of emergency powers. While the governor announced dial-turns this week, he continues to leave legislators or stakeholders out of the decision-making process.


To date, I have joined House Republicans in trying 18 times to end the governor’s emergency powers. All 18 attempts have failed due to the House majority’s refusal to end them. The reason is most likely because they want to use it as an end-of-session bargaining chip.


At some point, in order to move the state forward and do what’s best for people, the partisan games have to end. The Minnesota Senate has said it will not be raising taxes this year, and with more than $4 billion to spend without raising taxes this year, Minnesota House leadership needs to stand down from this unnecessary tax increase plan.  


In addition, emergency powers are meant for emergencies, not to be used as political leverage. He doesn’t need to govern with fear, and there’s no reason to cling to powers that are no longer critical.


The opportunity exists for us to finish our work on time and end the governor’s no longer needed emergency powers. But, the partisan games need to end before either of these critical outcomes can happen.