We are entering the final days of the 2023 legislative session, with work expected to continue through the weekend as we are constitutionally required to adjourn at midnight on Monday. While many budget areas remain unresolved, the legislature has given final approval to bills related to agriculture, K-12 education, higher education, jobs and labor, public safety, and more.
Remember, Democrats and Governor Walz are proposing to grow government spending by 40%, spend the entire $17.5 billion budget surplus, and raise taxes by nearly $10 billion despite the surplus.
In the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, House Democrats gave final approval to this year’s Public Safety and Judiciary budget and policy bill. The final agreement makes thousands of violent criminals eligible for early release, fails to protect children, infringes on the rights of law-abiding Minnesotans, and fails to give law enforcement the resources they need to keep communities safe.
We have seen the impacts that soft-on-crime policies have had on rising levels of violent crime in Minnesota. House and Senate Democrats are doubling down on these failed policies and making Minnesota less safe by putting violent felons back on the streets and restricting law-abiding Minnesotans' ability to defend themselves and their families.
Included in the bill is a provision that allows those convicted of violent crimes including murder, manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, assault, and domestic assault to have their prison sentences reduced to 1/2 if they complete Department of Corrections programming.
Additionally, the bill contains two controversial gun provisions that fail to address the root causes of violent crime, instead creating barriers for law-abiding Minnesotans to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. The all-Democrat conference committee gave just 14 minutes notice from when the gun control provisions were posted online to when they were adopted leaving little opportunity for the public to weigh in.
Where’s the Tax Relief?
Most Minnesotans rightfully thought that they would be seeing significant tax relief this year thanks to the state’s $17.5 billion budget surplus. Instead, Democrats have been on a spending spree as they increase government spending by nearly 40%. All of us are going to have to pay the price for their reckless spending.
To date, we have seen zero substantial tax relief come through the legislature that would put more money back into your family budget.
The Democrats have found plenty of taxes and fees to raise, especially in the transportation arena, including increases on license tab renewals and the motor vehicle sales tax, to name a few. Now, in the waning hours of this legislative session, Democrats won’t rule out raising the gas tax and tying it to inflation, which would further financially devastate drivers who are currently paying nearly $4 per gallon.
Raising the gasoline tax in the face of a mammoth budget surplus was supposed to be off the table this year.
You deserve better.
The final K-12 education budget bill was approved by Democrats this week. While they will tell you that the bill provides historic education funding, the reality is that it is filled with at least 65 new mandates that will leave many school districts in tougher financial situations than they already have.
They also failed to include teacher pension reform in the bill that so many of you have reached out to me about.
We could have put dollars directly into classrooms instead of funding bureaucracy. This bill represents a huge missed opportunity.
Staying in Touch
I plan to give you additional updates as the dust settles on the 2023 legislative session. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns.