In a news release, state Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, characterized the tentative agreement reached on a new two-year state budget Sunday, May 19, as a step forward in most areas.
"I am pleased to see the governor and House DFL majority finally gave up on their demand to hike the gas tax by 20 cents per gallon," Lueck stated in the release. "There are lots of details yet to be worked out. Equally important to stopping the gas tax hike was preventing the robbing of the statutorily dedicated road and bridge funding that comes from auto parts and repair sales citizens already pay. There is also renewed funding for the state's broadband program to continue the expansion of high-speed internet service to underserved and unserved areas of the state, which includes major portions of Aitkin and Crow Wing counties."
"However," Lueck added, "reinstating the health care provider tax despite a longstanding bipartisan agreement to end that tax remains problematic. That action will add about $2 billion in health care costs to Minnesotans in the near term."
Lueck stated he is pleased to see the agreement provided additional funding for K-12 education, with a 2% bump in allocations in the works.
"There is a lot of detailed work to be done before this budget is put in place," Lueck stated in the release. "With the budget deal finally coming forward late Sunday and constitutionally mandated adjournment at midnight Monday, a special session will be required to flesh out the details that were agreed upon."