2018 Session in the books


Rep. Regina Barr, House District 52B

The Legislature just completed one of the most productive two years in recent history and I am so proud I could be part of delivering tax relief, lowering health care costs, increasing education funding, and making record-setting investments in road and bridge infrastructure. The work we did this session reflects the priorities of all Minnesotans. From making key investments in education, school safety, and delivering tax relief to Minnesotans, it was truly a session where real efforts were made by everyone to put forward a compromise that works for all Minnesotans. 

The tax conformity and education plan were part of a compromise effort between the legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton. The plan protects taxpayers, simplifies Minnesota's tax code, and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years. It also makes available more than $225 million to help students — nearly $100 million more than what the governor requested — and provides new money and additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls.

In the supplemental budget bill, we compromised with the governor — more than 60 percent of the objections raised by the governor were removed or amended — meeting him more than halfway. The bill contains shared priorities like ensuring safe schools, repairing roads and bridges, tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting aging and vulnerable adults, and preventing a cut to caregivers of disabled Minnesotans.

A top priority for me this year was improved school safety and student mental health. The bonding bill passed brings the total school safety investment to more than $50 million—double the amount proposed by Dayton.

We also advanced an infrastructure-heavy, geographically balanced capital investment package featuring $825 million in general obligation bonding to fund construction projects throughout the state. The majority of funding is dedicated to bricks-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, water infrastructure and statewide asset preservation. In addition, the bonding bill includes funding to reorient Argenta Trail to better serve the traffic patterns in our community, funding to renovate the Inver Hills Technology & Business Center, and funding for the Dakota County SMART Center, which will be a state-of-the-art and first-in-Minnesota training center for law enforcement specifically focused on crisis situations.  

The bills sent to the governor build on the tremendously successful accomplishments from the 2017 session that included the largest tax cut in nearly two decades, the largest investment in roads and bridges in state history without a gas tax increase, major funding boosts for education, and reforms to lower health care costs and boost health care choices for Minnesota families.

With the 2018 session now behind us, it concluded what has been an incredibly productive first two years in the legislature for me and my goal to make Minnesota a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Thank you for giving me the honor of representing our community in St. Paul. 

 

— Rep. Regina Barr, GOP, represents Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, and Eagan

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