The Minnesota House Republicans provided this Legislative Update in March 2018.
Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal on March 16. It included more than a billion dollars in proposed tax increases and fee increases on DMV visits to pay for fixes to the failed MNLARS system.
In a step in the right direction, the governor indicated he will join most other states in using Federal Adjusted Gross Income. In the coming weeks, Republicans will unveil our tax conformity proposal; rather than using tax conformity to raise taxes on Minnesotans, Republicans will focus on holding Minnesotans harmless and preventing headaches for filers next year.
Republicans have no plans to ask Minnesotans to pay more taxes when we have a budget surplus. We are pleased with some of the governor’s proposals like school safety and funding to help deputy registrars hurt by the MNLARS disaster. We will review his proposals in the coming days, and will come forward with proposals of our own in the coming weeks.
After balancing the budget with an emphasis on tax relief and roads and bridges last session, House Republicans are working this session to make government work better for Minnesotans.
GOP Demands Accountability, Defined Plan with DMV Funds
Like Minnesotans, House Republicans are disappointed with the Governor's failure to deliver a functioning DMV system. In fact, his administration has mismanaged their $93 million budget for the project. On March 19, the House suspended the rules to take up and pass legislation authored by Transportation Chair Paul Torkelson to continue funding fixes and to bolster accountability for the troubled Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS).
• Authorizes a $10 million transfer from the Department of Vehicle Services Special Revenue fund
• Require the Governor to backfill the full $10 million by reducing agency operating budgets.
• Requires the Commissioners of Management and Budget (MMB), Department of Public Safety (DPS), and MN.IT to develop a project schedule and performance metrics within three weeks of enactment, along with monthly progress reports signed by each commissioner.
• Directs DPS to issue a request for information to explore whether an outside private vendor is a better financial option that fixing the current system
• Requires the Dayton administration to request an extension to the October 10, 2018 REAL ID deadline from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure Minnesotans can continue boarding airplanes and entering federal buildings using their current ID cards.
The House rejected an amendment by an overwhelming 8-117 vote to include the Governor's $2 MNLARS fee as proposed in his supplemental budget. The overall bill passed the House on an overwhelming 98-27 bipartisan vote. A separate version passed the Senate earlier in the day. The Senate can either vote to concur and send the amended bill to the governor, or vote to send it to conference committee.
Minnesotans are demanding accountability and reforms while providing funding needed to continue fixing the MNLARS mess created by Governor Dayton's administration. We believe it's imperative for the governor to back up his desire to take responsibility for this mess with meaningful action—this legislation will allow him to do that.
Two common-sense proposals are earning some attention this week during their roll-out:
• Stuck in traffic? Rep. Regina Barr presented to the Transportation& Regional Governance Policy Committee Monday about her bill (HF3703) to refocus MNDOT on relieving congestion instead of so-called “congestion alternatives” that have been implemented under Governor Dayton.
• Supporting the men and women who keep us safe. The House Public Safety Committee will hear two bills aimed at keeping police and the communities they serve safe including a bill (HF3611 Grossell) preventing police disarmament by local agencies and a bill (HF3610 Johnson) increasing the penalty for assaulting a police officer. Both Reps. Grossell and Johnson are former police officers.