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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, February 22, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Tuesday, Governor Walz released his first budget proposal as governor of Minnesota. State law requires the governor to submit a proposed state budget to the legislature in each odd-numbered year.

As you may expect, Governor Walz’s budget is full of increased government spending and massive tax increases. In total, the governor is proposing a $49.471 billion budget for 2020-2021. That marks an 8.6 percent increase over the last state budget that was approved in 2017.

Ultimately, the governor’s budget is a recipe for a more expensive Minnesota. It raises the cost of gas, health care, and many other goods and services we all rely on. In total, it raises taxes by more than $3 billion over the next two years at a time when Minnesota has a $1.5 billion budget surplus. This is unconscionable and the wrong path forward for our state.

Most egregious is Governor Walz’s proposal to raise the state’s gas tax by 70%. This massive increase would vault Minnesota all the way to the fourth highest in the nation. Once again, such a large tax increase is simply a non-starter considering our state’s $1.5 billion budget surplus.

Now that the governor has presented his budget recommendations, the legislature will begin working in earnest on its own budget plans in hopes of coming to a final product that will be signed into law by Governor Walz.

Paid Family Leave Receives another Hearing

On Tuesday, the DFL proposal that would mandate that every employer in the state offer up to 24 weeks of paid time off received its second committee hearing.

This bill would raise taxes on every working Minnesotan and their employer in the state and would establish a massive government-run bureaucracy that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to design and run.

The massive bureaucracy has MNLARS/MNsure 3.0 written all over it.

We shouldn’t raise taxes on every working Minnesotans and spend millions of dollars on a massive, expensive new government bureaucracy. If this is really about providing sick and leave time to Minnesota workers, let’s work to incentivize employers to provide better benefits—not take even more money out of the paychecks of hardworking Minnesotans.

Stay tuned on this as it continues to move through the process.

Equal Rights Amendment

A bill moving through the House that proposes a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit denial of equality in the law on the basis of gender received a hearing this week in the House Judiciary committee. The proposal is similar, but not identical, to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution, which was submitted to the states for ratification in 1972.

The main difference between this amendment compared to the proposed federal Equal Rights Amendment is that it would prohibit denial of equality under the law on the basis of “gender” rather than on the basis of “sex.”

While this amendment sounds good on its face, I am concerned about the intended or unintended consequences it presents. For instance, in some states that have passed ERA legislation like Pennsylvania, abortion rights groups are using the amendment to file lawsuits to strike down laws limiting abortions on the basis of discrimination.

I will not support something that could ease access to abortions. I believe we should take more time to study what the effects of this amendment are or amend the proposal to make sure that it does not affect abortion laws in Minnesota.

Staying in Touch

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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