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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2018 legislative session adjourned for the year late Sunday evening. This marked the completion of what has been one of the most productive two-year stretches at the state capitol in quite some time.

The last two years have included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.

Over the weekend, we continued this good work by passing legislation that builds on these successes including a tax/education bill, supplemental finance bill, bonding bill, and pension bill.

Unfortunately. Governor Dayton vetoed two of these four bills on Wednesday, demonstrating once again that he is choosing politics over millions of Minnesotans that would be helped by these bills.

Our tax/education bill conformed the state’s tax code to changes made at the federal level—holding 99.8% of all tax filers in Minnesota harmless. The tax plan provided the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years and preserved a number of deductions and exemptions that help Minnesota families.

The education portion made available more than $225 million to help students—nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested for “emergency” school funding, by providing new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.

In the supplemental budget bill, the legislature compromised with the governor by giving up nearly 70 percent of the “objectionable” policy language raised by the governor. The bill contained shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.

Unfortunately, for reasons hard to understand, Governor Dayton vetoed both the tax/education and supplemental spending bills. To be clear, there is no logical reason to veto either of these bills. Instead, by doing so, the governor will cause demonstrable harm to millions of Minnesotans across the state.

Here is a brief list of just some of the people that are affected by Governor Dayton’s reckless veto:

  • Victims of elder abuse
  • Victims of opioid addiction, and medical professionals
  • Victims of distracted driving
  • Special education and Head Start students
  • People dealing with MNLARS hassles
  • Deputy registrars whose businesses are floundering after MNLARS
  • People who need mental health support, particularly farmers and students
  • Farmers and agribusinesses that need Section 179 conformity for equipment depreciation
  • People who live in rural areas without high-speed internet
  • Students who need help to afford college
  • People who need job training and businesses that need skilled workers
  • K-12 students who won’t benefit from school safety funding
  • Taxpayers who will have a difficult time filing their taxes next year
  • Voters concerned about election security
  • Minnesotans concerned about privacy, data breaches, and cyber security
  • CPAs and tax professionals who will be dealing with very complex tax filings
  • Low-income working families who rely on federal child care subsidies
  • New teachers who need licenses, and schools who want to hire them
  • Schools that need adjustments to fully fund special education
  • Patients who care about transparent pricing for health care and prescription drugs
  • People with disabilities, and their caretakers, who would be affected by a 7% cut to the Disability Waiver Rate System

The list could be much longer but this just gives you an idea of some of the people that will be negatively impacted by the governor’s irresponsible and reckless decision.

Stay tuned for more information if there are any updates on this in the coming weeks, but with session adjourned for the year I do not anticipate anything happening.

That’s all for this week’s update. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding a matter related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Sondra

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