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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tom Murphy (R)

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Legislative Update - Rep. Tom Murphy

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Legislative Update

This week started bright and early on Monday with the February Budget Forecast. Every February the Department of Revenue releases its forecast for what the state’s finances will look like and help us make legislative decisions. This budget forecast shows a massive $17.5 billion surplus and this number doesn't even include the inflationary spending that is now calculated into the forecast likely putting the surplus closer to $20 billion. State government is collecting unnecessary amounts of tax dollars and yet our proposals to give the surplus back have gotten zero hearings from the majority.

In response to this House and Senate Republicans laid out our ‘Give it Back’ tax plan, which in contrast to Governor Walz’ actually cuts taxes instead of raising them. A top priority is to end the tax on Social Security, something even democrats ran on during the election, but now that we want to work across the aisle to provide relief to our seniors they seem to have lost interest. Our plan also includes property tax relief for a number of Minnesotans who are impacted most because of their location or the businesses they run. The last piece of Give it Back is of course rebate checks to Minnesota Tax Payers to provide some relief as the Biden-Walz economy continues to pinch the budgets of everyone else except government.

Reading Reset

House and Senate Republicans held a joint press conference to unveil their plan on how to address the reading crisis students are facing as they continue to fall behind usual benchmarks. Reading Reset is both a funding and curriculum framework to get our students back on track and reading at their grade level. Reading RESET is first and foremost about assuring that our students have access to the materials needed for successful learning. This means investing in curriculum with proven science to teach reading and writing skills as well as making sure teachers have the support they need to integrate these curricula through workshops and professional development. An additional portion of this funding will go towards tutoring where students can make up time that has been lost to school closures and remote learning. All of these come together to make sure Minnesota teachers and students are set up for success.

Up a Snowstorm Without a Charge

After a very snowy week, house democrats continue to push their bill, HF1715, banning the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment. I heard from a number of constituents about the shortcomings they or their friends have run into with electric equipment. The snowstorm we faced was a major catalyst where these machines fell short of the capabilities of their gas-powered counterparts and left several people with half-cleared driveways. There are cases where an electric alternative may fit the situation but to outright ban gas equipment in our state with its propensity for major weather events does not make sense.

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