FULL STORY: Weber, Hamilton talk failures, successes of 2018 session
WORTHINGTON -- With the legislative session over and a lot to talk about, District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, and District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, returned to Worthington Saturday morning to answer questions from constituents.
WORTHINGTON - With the legislative session over and a lot to talk about, District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, and District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, returned to Worthington Saturday morning to answer questions from constituents.
The two expressed frustration with the end to the session, when Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed two crucial GOP-led bills - one that would shuffle an additional $225 million to school districts and a larger bill that would conform the state’s tax code to fit with federal tax reform.
Dayton was unhappy that the education funds was being taken from existing state monies, and took issue with dozens of items in the large spending bill.
The Republicans said the veto essentially will guarantee tax increases on Minnesotans and has other side effects, such as reversing a seven percent cut for disability providers - a measure everyone agreed should have passed.
“We also included funds to help licensors through this MNLARS mess; that was vetoed as well,” Hamilton said.
Dayton said the bills meant to fix problems should have been separate instead of packaged together; Republicans said Dayton was being unreasonable.
Still, Hamilton and Weber were happy with some of what was passed, including the bonding bill, which allocated $300 million toward transportation.
“We passed one of the largest increases in transportation funding without raising taxes,” Hamilton said.
Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle thanked the two legislators for their work during the session, in particular for fighting a bill from District 31B Rep. Cal Bahr, R-East Bethel, that would have cut Local Government Aid (LGA) for cities with a local-option sales tax such as Worthington.
“That rears its ugly head every year and it will continue to do so, and we’ll continue to knock it down every time,” Hamilton said. “Just because a bill is introduced does not mean it’s going to be signed in to law.”
Kuhle also listed Hamilton and Weber’s support for the nomination of Worthington’s Randy Simonson to the University of Minnesota Regents Board as a success.
Weber said Simonson’s nomination would be beneficial for the university, which in his mind has lost its way as a land-grant university. He said the university needs to spend time and money working on new processes for wastewater treatment facilities, as rural cities are struggling to keep up with regulations.
“Lakefield is going through this problem right now, they need a new facility to keep up with standards,” Weber said. “The city clerk made a great comment, ‘We can drink our water but we can’t flush it.’”