Recently the Senate wrapped up a busy and productive legislative session. As you know, the legislature operates in two-year cycles, called a biennium. This year was the final year of our current biennium, so when the legislature re-convened in February we knew we had a lot to accomplish but not a lot of time to do it.
We had three big priorities this year: a tax conformity bill to protect Minnesota families from inadvertent tax increases; a supplemental spending bill to make budget adjustments in the wake of higher-than-anticipated revenue; and a bonding bill focused on critical statewide infrastructure projects. I am proud to say we accomplished every one of those priorities. Unfortunately, Gov. Mark Dayton decided to veto both the tax conformity bill and the supplemental budget bill.
A lot of Minnesotans will be hurt by his decisions.
The tax conformity bill would have aligned Minnesota’s tax code with federal changes. It even lowered the bottom income tax rate – the first rate reduction in almost two decades. Our plan would have protected 99.8% of Minnesotans from tax increases, and 82% would have actually seen their taxes go down. Instead, almost one million filers are facing tax increases next year because of the governor’s veto.
The supplemental spending bill was not a big bill in terms of the money it appropriated, but it targeted programs of bipartisan importance. It included funding to improve school safety so our children are protected when they go to class. It included funding to combat the devastating opioid addiction crisis. It included stronger penalties for distracted driving and for the production and sale of child pornography. It included protections for victims of elder abuse, so we never see another scandal like that again. It included funding to help out college students, like workforce development grants for kids who enter into high-demand, skilled careers, counseling to help navigate student loan debt, and more affordable textbooks. It included funding to help get the governor’s MNLARS mess that has been crushing deputy registrars, auto dealers, and consumers, back on track. The list goes on and on.
When you read through the list of everything the governor vetoed, you begin to get a sense of how many Minnesotans will be harmed. These provisions should not be controversial; these are things we all should support, and it is disappointing they were caught up in end-of-session games. This is especially true for urgent matters, like the opioid and elder abuse crises, and school safety.
The governor maintains he will not call a special session to work on any of these issues further, so the best we can do is get right back to work when the legislature reconvenes in January.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback for me, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It is a pleasure serving as your state senator.
Keep in Touch Senator Bruce Anderson 3209 Minnesota Senate Building 95 University Avenue West St. Paul, MN 55155 651.296.5981 firstname.lastname@example.org