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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2019 legislative session came to an end last Saturday with the completion of a one-day special session to pass budget bills.

While I am disappointed that a special session was needed to finish our work, I am relatively pleased with the job that House and Senate Republicans did this year to prevent Democrats’ extreme tax and spend agenda from becoming law.

With a Democrat Governor and House, the deck was stacked against us this year. Nevertheless, House and Senate Republicans did a good job securing a number of “wins” for the people of Minnesota.

  • The tax bill lowered the second-tier rate from 7.05% to 6.8% beginning in 2019, allowing most Minnesotans to keep more of their hard-earned money.
  • Thanks to bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate, none of Democrats' extreme gun control proposals survived in the final budget agreement.
  • The final budget agreement extended reinsurance for two years, continuing a program that has proven to lower health care costs for families and become a national model that other states red and blue alike are following.
  • Republicans fought Democrat-backed efforts to cut $68 million from nursing homes. These cuts would have devastated budgets for nursing facilities and harmed care for aging Minnesotans.
  • Republicans stood strong and blocked all of the Democrat-backed transportation tax increases, including the Governor's 70 percent increase to the gas tax.
  • The final Health and Human Services bill included provisions to crack down on fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
  • Republicans defeated Governor Walz's ONEcare proposal, which would have hurt rural hospitals and was the next step toward a single-payer, government takeover of health care.
  • Democrat efforts to ram through controversial elections policy—breaking with the tradition of requiring bipartisan support for election measures—were halted as part of the final budget agreement.

While we were successful in some areas, I am disappointed that the “sick” tax was reinstated. The tax was set to sunset this year. Instead, the sunset was removed and the tax rate was dropped from 2% to 1.8%.

The tax is levied on most patient services in Minnesota, including things like baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more.

In total, the sick tax will increase the costs of health care by $2.295 billion over the next four years. I was proud to vote against this immoral and unnecessary tax.

Education Funding

Schools in our area did well in this year’s education finance bill with most of our districts seeing a sizable increase in their per-pupil funding ratios. Here’s a breakdown of how Isle, Milaca, Onamia, and Princeton faired from the perspective of per-pupil funding:

  • Milaca
    • 2020: $154
    • 2021: $311
  • Princeton
    • 2020: $173
    • 2021: $360
  • Onamia
    • 2020: $233
    • 2021: $536
  • Isle
    • 2020: $178
    • 2021: $397

Staying in Touch

Even though the 2019 legislative session is officially over, my job as your state representative does not end. Please continue to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns 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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