The 2023 legislative session concluded Monday and it will most likely be remembered for increasing state spending by more than 40 percent while raising taxes by nearly $10 billion despite a $17.5 billion state surplus.
Many Minnesotans, rightfully so, expected to see significant tax relief this year thanks to the state’s record-setting budget surplus. Instead, all of us will have to pay more to cover the costs of this massive increase in government spending. We had a chance to provide generational, transformational tax relief for all of Minnesota that would have helped families mitigate the impacts of high inflation. For that reason, and others, this session ended up being a huge, missed opportunity.
The new two-year state budget will increase spending from $52 billion to $72 billion. Tax hikes include raising the state’s gas tax and tying it to inflation, increasing license tab fees, adding a new delivery tax, a new payroll tax that will hit employers and employees alike, and more.
I am disappointed that majorities in the House, Senate, and Governor Walz failed to support a full elimination of the state’s Social Security tax despite nearly universal support for that move among the public. It is also concerning that Governor Walz began the session by supporting $2,000 budget surplus rebate checks for joint filers, with the final amount accounting for just a fraction of that at $260 per person or $520 per couple.
Wins for the Northland
Despite the many disappointments, we nevertheless were able to work together at times and deliver results for Minnesota. I think of things like legislation we unanimously approved that will provide needed support for our veterans and emergency funding that will help save our rural nursing homes. These examples, and there are others, show that when we set aside partisan differences, work together, and focus on issues that unite us instead of divide us, we can accomplish great things. It is too bad that there were not more examples of this from the 2023 legislative session.
I am extremely grateful that my bill that provides funding to begin the process of expanding Highway 169 from two lanes to four lanes between Pengilly and Taconite was included in the Transportation bill. This is a huge step forward in making this a reality and will be important for the region when it’s finally completed!
We were able to secure a big win for nursing homes by successfully negotiating $300 million more than what had been previously proposed. This added funding will help the industry at a time when nursing homes have been forced to close and families have been left scrambling to find care for their loved ones.
Additionally, both legislative bodies approved a capital investment package to fund infrastructure projects around the state on Monday, just hours before the 2023 session adjourned. I am happy to have been able to secure funding for several local projects including:
- $8.875 million to mitigate rising water levels at the Canisteo Legacy Mine Pit Complex.
- $1.5 million to design and construct water and sewer infrastructure in Floodwood.
- $10 million for the construction of a Public Safety Center in Hibbing.
For Bovey, Taconite, and Coleraine, rising water levels at Canisteo are a matter of life and death and I am beyond grateful that we were able to secure the funding needed to address this problem once and for all. Additionally, water and sewer infrastructure improvements in Floodwood and a training facility in Hibbing are other local projects of significance that will make our communities and region safer.
Staying in Touch
While the 2023 legislative session is over, my work for you doesn’t stop. Please continue to reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. I can be reached at 651-296-4936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a good day,