District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne
With Gov. Mark Dayton’s vetoes of the supplemental budget bill and the tax conformity/school funding bill, it is regrettable that the governor passed on the opportunity to enact bipartisan bills. The governor’s actions mean Minnesota has failed to enact the first income tax cut in nearly two decades, funding to help deputy registrars hurt by the MNLARS mess, revenue to help avert a 7 percent cut for disability services, school safety funding, and more.
This week I joined the majority in the Minnesota House in approving legislation that would prevent farmers from being impacted from another potentially burdensome order from the Dayton administration. The bill would stop the Minnesota Department of Agriculture from adopting mandatory rules, or “water resource protection requirements,” for nitrogen fertilizers without Legislative consent.
If you haul pigs and choose to wash your truck after the job is complete, should the area be considered a swine basin? Believe it or not, this potential in state law exists, and I’m trying to rectify that. Constituents notified me that the runoff created after washing their truck is regulated as a swine basin for hogs. Common sense tells you it’s a truck wash, so I’m just trying to make a simple clarification.
With students soon to be returning to the classroom, now is the perfect time to share what was accomplished for K-12 Education during the 2017 session.
On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released preliminary rates for the 2018 individual insurance market. The release reveals that the legislative reforms from earlier this spring could end a nearly half-decade trend of double-digit premium increases. The individual market serves Minnesotans who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government.
Near-record middle-class tax relief and long-term road and bridge improvement funding proposals are among the top highlights of the 2017 legislative session. Once we learned that our state had a $1 billion surplus, we made a point of prioritizing tax relief for hardworking Minnesotans and making a long-overdue investment in road and bridge construction projects. I’m pleased we were able to make these goals a reality.
Crafting the state budget can now begin following an announcement from state economists that Minnesota has a projected $1.65 billion budget surplus. These numbers are moving in the right direction. A growing surplus is the preferred direction rather than deficits. The analysts’ recent projection is $250 million more than what was expected from our previous budget forecast that was released near the end of 2016.
To follow up last session’s successful nursing home reforms that ensured facilities had the resources necessary to remain open and offer competitive salaries for its workers, I amchampioning a bill that addresses the elderly waiver program, which includes assisted living and in-home care.
A bill that will replenish funds for the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) loan program has been approved in the Minnesota House. I voted in favor the measure. The RFA can be vital to our local economy. I’m glad to see we’ve prioritized the program and I was happy to support it. Funds for the RFA program, which assists farmers with low-cost financing, have basically dried up.
Legislation that addresses Minnesota’s health care premium cost crisis by providing relief to eligible subscribers while increasing access, competition, and transparency has been signed into law. I supported the plan in the Minnesota House.