Guest Opinion: Legislative session ends with top priorities unresolved
I will work harder than ever to deliver a record-breaking tax cut with the state’s massive budget surplus, and make public safety a top priority by investing in law enforcement and doing more to hold criminals accountable.
The 2022 legislative session ended last weekend with top priorities like providing robust, permanent tax relief and improving public safety left unresolved. This is especially disappointing considering Minnesota’s historic budget surplus and the opportunity we had to return it back to you, the hardworking taxpayers of Minnesota.
Earlier in the week, we received word that legislative leaders and Governor Walz had agreed to a supplemental budget framework that would have spent $4 billion of the surplus while also providing some tax relief.
I was opposed to this framework.
Remember, state government is already fully funded thanks to last year’s budget agreement and Minnesota received nearly $80 billion in federal COVID relief during the pandemic. To put it plainly, state government does not need to spend more of your tax dollars.
Given this backdrop, it makes sense that the supplemental budget framework fell apart when Democrats and Governor Walz demanded billions in new spending in exchange for a modicum of tax relief.
Further, it is unconscionable to grow the size of government when Minnesotans are struggling with the highest levels of inflation seen in 40 years, soaring energy costs, gas prices skyrocketing, and baby formula shortages. Government should not be sitting on billions of dollars at a time when you are having difficulty making ends meet. You deserve money back in your pocket to cover these costs.
In addition to returning the budget surplus to you through meaningful tax relief, addressing soaring levels of crime was another top priority this session.
Sadly, Democrats refused to fund law enforcement and blocked increased penalties for criminals, including a bill that would crack down on fentanyl as our country deals with record-setting overdose deaths driven by this deadly drug.
It is disappointing that they were unwilling to stand up to the “defund the police” wing of their party and insisted on funding unproven and unaccountable nonprofit groups instead of putting more money into our local police departments.
I know lots of Democrats that care about this issue and it is unfortunate that they do not seem interested in standing up to those in their party that would like to essentially do away with law enforcement as it exists today.
Looking forward, it appears that Governor Walz is backtracking on his comments that he would not call a special session to resolve the impasse. This past week, he said that he was open to the idea, and it appears that he and Speaker of the House Hortman are pushing behind the scenes to call lawmakers back to St. Paul.
Let’s be clear, a special session would result in billions of dollars in new spending as Democrats would no doubt continue to hold tax relief hostage in exchange for growing government.
Minnesotans deserve better.
That’s why next session, I will work harder than ever to deliver a record-breaking tax cut with the state’s massive budget surplus, and make public safety a top priority by investing in law enforcement and doing more to hold criminals accountable.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your questions, comments, or concerns. It would be great to chat with you about ways we can make Minnesota a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, represents District 10A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.