Omnibus bills have started to come to the House floor as our time is now being spent with long floor debates over the merits of bills and discussion about proposed amendments. This week, we voted on four separate omnibus bills.
These bills represent the values and will of the DFL majority in the House and what they think the state’s two-year budget should look like.
On Thursday evening, we considered both the Housing Omnibus bill and the Legacy Omnibus bill.
The Housing bill was full of problematic policies that will remove local control and take autonomy away from housing providers. By increasing mandates and removing local control, we are doing nothing to address the factors that are making homeownership unaffordable in many parts of the state.
It should be easier and cheaper to build a home in Minnesota, instead, this bill goes backward. For that reason, I voted “no”.
The Legacy bill allocates funds that are collected by the state’s three-eighths of one percent sales tax that was approved by voters in 2008. These funds are constitutionally required to be spent via three separate funds: the outdoor heritage fund; the clean water fund; and the parks and trails fund.
I voted “no” on this bill because, while some of the projects were worthy of funding, many of them were not and it did not do enough to earn my support.
Transportation Policy and Finance
This evening the House will debate and vote on the DFL’s Transportation Policy and Finance bill. The bill spends over $6.9 billion, which is a 12% increase in funding, and raises over $1.6 billion in transportation-related taxes and fees in the next four years.
Among the taxes is an increase in the gas tax and increases to tab fees, registration, and the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax.
There are several other issues with policy included in the bill. Chief among these is a provision that provides driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
For these reasons and many more, I plan to vote “no” on this bill.
The taxes and fees in this bill are unnecessary at a time when Minnesota has a multi-billion-dollar budget surplus.
State Government Finance Bill
We also plan to take up the State Government Finance bill today. This legislation increases spending by nearly $40 million over the next two years and will significantly grow the size of government.
This bill is especially frustrating because while Minnesotans are struggling and having to make ends meet with less money, DFLers continue to grow government and refuse to ask agencies to tighten their belts.
There are also election-related provisions in the bill that are problematic. For decades, there has been an informal agreement that election law changes need to have bipartisan support in the legislature. DFLers sadly are deserting this in favor of pushing their agenda that would make significant changes to the way voting is conducted in Minnesota.
For these reasons, I plan on voting “no” on this bill as well.