Minnesota House finishes, adjourns
The Minnesota House finished business and concluded the 2018 session on Sunday. Before closing they passed a compromise tax conformity and education funding bill, a bonding bill, and a pension bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for consideration.
“It’s clear House Republicans went to bat for the people of Greater Minnesota this biennium,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent).
“From the transportation funding for small cities, to bonding projects in rural areas and legislation to support property owners, there are a lot of things to be pleased about – and I haven’t even gotten to the tax relief we provided,” said Swedzinski.
The only thing which remains unanswered is, “Whether the governor will sign the last of our bills into law, or if he will play partisan games and prevent Minnesotans from enjoying the benefits we provided them.”
The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between legislative Republicans and Dayton. The federal conformity plan protects taxpayers, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years.
It also makes available more than $225 million to help students — nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested, provides new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.
Earlier Sunday, the House sent a supplemental budget bill to the governor’s desk. It contains shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.
A top priority for House Republicans this year was improved school safety and student mental health. The bonding bill passed Sunday night brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million — double the amount proposed by Dayton. House Republicans also advanced an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonding to fund construction projects throughout the state. Included is a $3.1 million appropriation for the Minnesota Emergency Response and Industrial Training Center in Marshall.
There also is $32 million for the construction of new veterans homes, including one for Montevideo which Swedzinski said he advocated. Funding for a Lake Redwood dredging project Swedzinski supported also was included.
The compromise proposals await action by Dayton in the coming days. LAST WEEK the house approved the Senate version of legislation Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, authored to extend a moratorium on new rules to mow or hay trunk highway rights-of-way.
The bill now is in the hands of Gov. Mark Dayton for enactment after passing the House 109-18. Swedzinski said more time is needed for legislators and the public to study and respond to a March report the Minnesota Department of Transportation produced on stakeholder feedback.
Swedzinski’s bill halts any rule changes for another year.
“With deadlines and quick timing of this session, we need to move forward with another one-year moratorium,” said Swedzinski.
Families, the department and the rest of rural Minnesota need to digest and actually move forward policy that better reflects the actions that are happening on the ground in rural Minnesota.
“We need this moratorium and we look forward to the governor’s signature upon it,” he added.