Session Review 2021
My House Republican colleagues and I focused this session on protecting taxpayers from tax increases, helping small businesses and families recover from the pandemic closures, ending Governor Walz’ emergency powers, providing federal and state funding to schools, and supporting law enforcement.
The compromise budget agreement finally put an end to the Governor’s Emergency Powers, defeated all tax increases, passed retroactive tax relief for those who got PPP loans or supplemental unemployment benefits, and didn’t include any language that would have made it harder for the brave members of law enforcement to protect our communities.
I was disappointed it did not fully reinstate reinsurance for the individual market for the two-year budget cycle, which has already led to increased insurance rates for 2022. I plan to work with my colleagues to get the second year of reinsurance passed next session so we don’t destabilize the market and drive more families into the uninsured pool.
I will continue working to protect taxpayers and make sure government doesn’t make it harder for families, employers, workers and students to recover from the pandemic.
Republicans Halt Tax Hikes
Democrats and Gov. Walz pushed for billions in tax increases including an increase to the gas tax and tax hikes that would have hurt businesses still trying to recover from the pandemic. Republicans successfully defeated every tax increase. With a $4 billion surplus, the state does not need more revenue from hard-working Minnesotans.
We know Democrats will be back again next year pushing for tax hikes, but Republicans will continue to hold the line. With our economy still recovering and inflation rising thanks to out-of-control federal spending, state tax increases are the last thing families need.
Building Safe Communities
I am proud to support the brave men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line to protect our communities. With violent crime spiking in the Twin Cities, it’s more important than ever that we stand up to the radical efforts to defund and dismantle the police. I voted against every anti-law enforcement proposal that would make it harder for police to do their jobs and supported proposals to increase penalties on those who commit crimes with illegal firearms and improve safety on public transportation. While I am pleased my Republican colleagues and I defeated all anti-law enforcement provisions, the proposals that would have helped reduce crime did not pass. We will continue to work on bills that improve public safety for all Minnesotans.
Safety in Our Cities
- Calling to bolster understaffed police forces in Minneapolis and Saint Paul
- Increasing penalties for criminals and gang members who use guns to commit crimes
- Expanding use of ShotSpotter technology
- Partnering with state and federal law enforcement agencies to target high risk areas
House Republicans voted 21 times to end Governor Walz’s unilateral powers
House Republicans led the fight against the Governor’s emergency powers, forcing nearly two dozen votes to bring an end to the peacetime emergency, and bringing forward numerous bills to reform and rein in emergency powers. While the current emergency is over, permanent reforms are needed to make sure no governor can abuse emergency powers and the legislature remains involved as a Constitutional co-equal branch of government.
Supporting Small Business
Minnesota workers and businesses were devastated by the numerous mandates and closures ordered by Gov. Walz. Republicans worked across party lines to provide much-needed assistance to our small businesses – especially restaurants, bars, gyms, hotels and others who were among the hardest hit. Last December, the legislature passed an emergency program that provide another round of grant to small businesses who were shuttered during the pandemic, helping to save countless businesses and jobs.
The Legislature finally also passed a “clean” tax relief bill for small businesses who had received federal PPP loans at the end of June. These loans were not taxed as federal income and should never have been taxed by the state. Although we tried numerous times to pass this bill numerous times before the May 17th tax filing deadline, the DFL continued to hold this much-needed tax relief hostage in exchange for the billions in tax increases there were proposing. At the very end of the June Special Session, they finally let it pass without conditions, but it was wrong to make small businesses owners have to file extensions or tax out additional loans to pay the taxes because they wouldn’t pass a “clean” bill earlier in the year.
Standing Up for Students
The legislature increased our education spending by 4.45% over the biennium, which is the largest increase on the “formula” in at least 15 years. We also maintained the current allotment for voluntary Pre-K, created programs to recruit more teachers of color, and provided one-time funding for special education and English-language learner programs.
Preserving Conservation and Outdoor Recreation
The Legacy bill spends the sales tax money that is collected every year through the Constitutional “Legacy Amendment” that voters approved in 2008 to fund clean water, land and arts projects. The Legacy Amendment increased the state sales tax by three-eighths of one percent beginning on July 1, 2009 and will continue until 2034.
The Legacy bill passed this year spent nearly $67 million to support our state parks, recreation areas, and trails for both the Metro and Greater Minnesota. It also included civics education grants for high school students.