Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It was another very busy week in St. Paul as the House approved a number of supplemental omnibus finance bills covering a wide range of issues. Here is a brief review of a handful of those bills.
House Approves Tax Conformity
On Monday, the House approved a tax conformity plan that simplifies Minnesota’s tax code and brings us into conformity with changes made at the federal level late last year.
Our plan lowers taxes for 2.1 million Minnesotans including the first income tax rate reduction in nearly 20 years for those in the second-tier income tax bracket.
Both the Senate and Governor Dayton have released their plans as well, setting up end-of-session negotiations on this very important issue in the coming weeks before adjournment.
Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Public Safety
The House passed omnibus bills on Tuesday related to transportation, health and human services, and public safety. Each bill reiterated our commitment to representing the values and priorities that matter most to Minnesotans.
The transportation bill utilizes surplus funds leveraged with trunk highway bonds to spend $385 million on transportation needs this year—all without raising taxes.
Our health and human services bill reaffirms our priority to ensure Minnesotans have access to affordable health care. Provisions in this bill focus on reducing health care costs, combatting the opioid epidemic, protecting vulnerable adults, and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse of public health dollars.
The public safety bill included provisions to protect law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, crack down on sex offenders, and devote more resources to protecting our children.
Jobs, State Government Finance, Environment, and Agriculture
On Thursday, we passed omnibus legislation relating to jobs and energy, state government finance, environment and natural resources, and agriculture.
The jobs bill included language that provides $500,000 in grants from the Minnesota Investment Fund to Mille Lacs County to provide loans to businesses adversely affected by the walleye crisis on Mille Lacs. This is for eligible projects located within the municipalities or townships located in the three counties surrounding Lake Mille Lacs.
Included in the environment bill is permissive language allowing the DNR commissioner to invite at least two fish managers to attend the 1837 Ceded Territory Fisheries Technical Committee meetings.
The agriculture bill reaffirms our commitment to farmers and the needs of the ag community by including resources to assist farmers with low cost financing as well as mental health issues.
Finally, the state government bill includes a provision that helps fund the construction of three veterans’ homes in Bemidji, Preston, and Montevideo.
If you have any additional questions or comments regarding these bills or any other matter related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,