The Legislature completed our work on the new state budget on June 30.
I am very pleased that we were able to stop the billions in tax increases the governor sought this session. With over a $4 billion surplus, there was never a reason to raise taxes after Minnesotans sacrificed so much over the past year. We also ended the governor’s emergency powers. The science and data clearly show that COVID-19 no longer poses a threat, and I am proud that the Legislature finally restored our rightful place as a co-equal branch of government. There are many other big wins in this budget for our community that I am happy to deliver to our area after my first legislative session.
Two key transportation projects now have the necessary funding to support the safety of drivers and the economic vitality of Scott and Le Sueur counties. The next phase of the Hwy. 169/282 overpass in Jordan received funding and corrections were made to provide funds to improve Hwy. 93 between Le Sueur and Henderson. These projects are critical to our community, and I appreciate all those who helped advocate for this funding to be included in the final transportation budget.
The agriculture bill also had two important provisions to support our area. Our farmers will be pleased to learn that grant programs related to biofuel infrastructure will receive funding to support equipment upgrades to handle the E15 blend of fuel. After many spent the past year living, working, and learning from home, the need for reliable internet access became an even greater concern. I am very pleased that we will invest more in broadband infrastructure to help Minnesota’s families and businesses.
The Legislature also passed a historic investment in education, increasing our K-12 spending by 4.45% over the next two years. This bill supports our students by investing in special education programs, English-language learner programs and programs to recruit more teachers. Objectionable policy provisions included in an earlier version of the education bill were all removed.
As a member of the National Guard, I was proud to stand with my Republican colleagues to support law enforcement. We defeated numerous anti-police measures that would have only made it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs and keep our communities safe. The rise in crime in the metro area is a concern for all of us. I know many have thought twice before going to a Twins game or sending their kids back to Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota campus. I will always have the backs of law enforcement and will keep working for solutions that hold criminals accountable so we can restore safety to our communities.
It has been an honor and privilege to represent you during the budget process. Even though the legislature is no longer in session, I am still here to serve you so please do not hesitate to reach out with any concerns.