Legislative Update from Bill Engebrigtsen

Friends and Neighbors,

What a week at your state Capitol. The Governor released his budget proposal this week. This budget is one of three that we will take a look at this legislative session. The DFL controlled Senate along with the Republican controlled House will both release their budgets within the next couple months. This gives the legislature time to move bills through committees and have thorough discussions about each item in the budget.

At the start of the session, it was encouraging to see Gov. Dayton agree to prioritize tax cuts by putting Minnesota’s tax code in line with the federal tax code. This move cut taxes around $20 million for all Minnesotans and is something to celebrate. However, the governor’s newly released budget proposal seems to reverse this trend. If his budget is adopted, Governor Dayton’s spending impact on Minnesota will be a 23% budget increase since he took office and a 7% increase in just the last two years.

This is significantly different than what the average family has been able to do. Working Minnesotans should be rewarded for pulling our state out of the economic slump and we should do this by returning some taxpayer money that was over-collected by the past DFL majorities. As it stands, the governor’s budget will spend all of the current surplus and large portions of any future surplus.

It’s also noteworthy that K-12 education and healthcare reforms were not included as part of the governor’s budget proposal. I was hoping to see some fresh ideas from the governor to fix persistent problems like the K-12 achievement gap and the financially unstable MNsure system, but he seems to be content with the status quo. My colleagues and I are working toward more substantive reforms and will be introducing those in the coming weeks.

Hot Button Issues

One hot button issue that I have heard about from a few constituents is the AIS decal requirement. While this decal had a strong educational purpose, the requirement was seen as too much. We learned this week that the DNR has planned to delay the program. This will give the legislature the time it needs to pass the bill I co-authored and eliminate the decal requirement.

The Governor, House and Senate leadership finally came to an agreement on the space allocation in the upcoming renovated capitol building. It came with the Senate giving up a majority of its space in the building.

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly update it remains an honor to represent you in St. Paul. As always feel free to contact me at my office at any time with your legislative concerns at 651-297-8063 or at Sen.Bill.Ingebrigtsen@senate.mn.

Thanks,

Bill

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