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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Harry Niska (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, June 30, 2023
Independence Day 3

Dear Neighbor,

Here’s wishing you a safe and happy Independence Day as we celebrate our great nation. This is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the blood, sweat and tears that have been shed for the freedoms we enjoy every day. God bless America and cheers to another year of independence!

As for legislative news:

New laws

A number of new laws are set to take effect in Minnesota on July 1, coinciding with the start of the new fiscal year. The 2023 legislative session ended in late May with the DFL trifecta putting into law nearly $10 billion in tax increases.

Of that total, Minnesotans are set to face $3.8 billion in transportation tax hikes alone. Some of these tax increases are set to take effect as of July 1. Here are some of the new transportation-related expenses to note:

  • Vehicle registration tax/tabs: This tax hike averages to be a 36% increase over the first 11 years of your new vehicle. The change will apply to taxes payable for a registration period starting on or after January 1, 2024.
  • Filing fee increases: Filing fees will increase to $8 on every vehicle registration renewal, excluding pro rate transactions. This section is effective October 1, 2023.
  • 50-cent delivery fee on retail deliveries over $100: Over $189 million over four years is expected to be leveled on residents who shop from home thanks to this tax. The fee will be implemented on deliveries over $100. Exemptions include deliveries for groceries, prepared food, baby products, and feminine hygiene products. The tax would begin on July 1, 2024, and is the largest delivery tax in the U.S.
  • $6 Fee increase for driver licenses: This is effective July 1, 2023, and applies to applications made on or after that date.
  • Gas tax – automatic increases for inflation: The expected gas tax hike beginning January 1, 2024 is 5 cents over four years. Drivers will pay $423 million over four years for this Democrat priority.
  • Metro sales tax changes: This 0.75% increase in the 7 county Metro Sales Tax for Transportation will see 83% of funds go toward Metro Transit funding and 17% will be sent to Metro Counties for local road projects. This section is effective for sales and purchases made on or after October 1, 2023, and applies in the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.
  • Increase in motor vehicle sales tax from 6.5% to 6.875%: Will give Minnesota the 5th highest Vehicle sales tax rate in the U.S. This section is effective for sales and purchases made on or after July 1, 2023.

These transportation tax hikes were unnecessary and add to the burden Minnesota families already face with higher costs on pretty much everything in today’s economy. Democrats did not need to raise taxes when we had a record surplus and it is disappointing more wasn’t done to provide relief for Minnesotans instead of adding to their challenges.

Click here for more details on all the laws that take effect July 1.

Christian school lawsuit

A preliminary injunction has been issued halting enforcement of new law impacting Minnesota's Post Secondary Opportunity Act participation. A lawsuit previously was filed on behalf of parents and Christian postsecondary schools objecting to a provision in an omnibus higher education package Gov. Tim Walz recently signed into law on this subject.

While this issue is far from settled, the injunction is a big win for the Constitution. House Republicans explained to Democrats, in clear terms, why their bill targeting certain colleges based on their religious beliefs was unconstitutional. We tried to help the DFL trifecta with their homework, but they wouldn't listen. It's good to see the Minnesota AG's office has stepped in to pause this egregious DFL overreach and I remain confident justice will prevail with this legislation soon put to rest for good.

Until next time, hope you are having a good summer and please stay in touch.