As chair of the Senate Tax Committee, I forged a bipartisan agreement with the chair of the Tax Committee in the Democratically controlled House. The agreement included income tax rate cuts for all, elimination of the tax on Social Security benefits, property tax relief, and tax credits for paid family leave, renters, and childcare. This bipartisan agreement was adopted word for word.
Unfortunately, for Minnesotans strapped with sky rocketing inflation, the House did not bring this tax relief up for a vote. The House speaker declared she would used the tax bill as leverage for spending bills. (Associated Press – 5/20/22)
I publicly called upon Governor Walz to call us back into special session to pass this much needed tax relief. I will make permanent tax cuts my top priority in the next legislative session.
Minnesota is one of only 12 states that taxes Social Security benefits. That must end. Passing into law the bipartisan agreement I championed is a top priority in the Senate. My opponent opposed ending the tax on Social Security benefits in a Post Bulletin editorial titled “Eliminating SSI tax is short-sighted, irresponsible”.
I have always been a strong advocate for education. During my time as Chair of the Education Committee, we delivered historic funding and reforms. My opponent makes vague claims about educational funding. State of Minnesota spending for early childhood education has tripled, and K-12 spending has nearly doubled since 2011. The total inflation rate during those years was 34% (Bureau of Labor Statistics calculation).
We must do more to achieve excellence in education, including steps to combat Covid related learning loss and escalating mental health needs.
Protecting the environment for future generations is an important priority for me. Minnesota has been a leader in combating climate change by reducing carbon emissions. I oppose adopting California clean car standards which would require 35% of new cars to be zero-emissions (electric) by 2026, with increasing percentages each year. My opponent not only supports subjecting Minnesota to California clean car standards, she also supports forcing utilities to be carbon free by 2040, regardless of the impact of higher energy costs on families, farmers, and businesses.
We need to take steps to reduce emissions, but we cannot do it faster than innovations allow, we cannot do it faster than family budgets can afford.
The United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in the Dobbs decision, returning abortion access decisions to the states. The reality in Minnesota is the Supreme Court has already ruled that the state constitution protects a women’s right to an abortion. So rather than trying to politicize it or dividing people even more on a highly controversial issue, I will continue to listen and work together with people to find consensus on policies that protect babies and support mothers and families.
Reinsurance is a trusted and proven method of stabilizing the individual market in Minnesota. The Affordable Care Act included a temporary reinsurance program, but it ended after 2016. When the federal reinsurance ended in 2016, Minnesotans in the individual market saw astronomical increases in their premiums. After the federal program ended, Minnesota led the way in 2017 by establishing the first reinsurance program. Today, 16 other states have implemented their own state-run reinsurance programs to stabilize their individual/family health insurance markets. Individual premiums are lower in those states than states that don’t have reinsurance programs. While my opponent claims reinsurance is corporate welfare, the reality is the program directly pays for high-cost medical claims.