Entering the 2022 Legislative Session, Minnesotans were looking for the legislature to take action on the issues facing families across the state. Though we had passed a balanced budget in 2021 that made important investments, there was more work to do.
With a $9.25 billion budget surplus, we had a historic opportunity to address Minnesotans’ needs and ensure a fair and full recovery from the unprecedented disruption of the last two years. Though we faced a divided government, Senate DFLers were ready to find the compromise needed to get the work done to deliver for Minnesotans.
Unfortunately, Senate Republicans had other plans. Again and again, they chose politics over progress while blocking important debates and discussions on issues Minnesotans care about. It was even difficult to find a final agreement on the issues they said they prioritized.
This was immediately evident with the unfinished work of 2021. Though legislation was passed last year to provide frontline worker bonus pay for those Minnesotans who put their lives on the line to keep our state moving during the early days of the pandemic, Republicans refused to move quickly to deliver this aid. It wasn’t until April of 2022, almost a year after the legislation was passed, that an agreement was reached. While this delay was a disservice to Minnesota’s workers, Senate DFLers worked with the House and Governor to double the total amount of funding available to workers and made sure all frontline workers were eligible.
At a time when Minnesotans were looking for help in our recovery from the worst of COVID-19, Republicans made their priorities clear: they proposed using most of the budget surplus for tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the rich. The Republican tax bill spent eight times as much on tax cuts for high-income Minnesotans than the Republican education bill spent on Minnesota’s schools.
While Senate DFLers fought for a fair tax cut for the middle-class and working families that ensured the rich would pay their fair share, we also pushed to invest in our students and schools, seniors and long-term care, and the public safety of communities across the state.
As the session reached its final days, Senate DFLers were ready to work around the clock to finish the work Minnesotans sent us here to do. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans chose not to. Despite coming to an agreement with House Democrats and Governor Walz to provide tax cuts, investments in schools, health care, public safety, and a $1 billion jobs bill, Senate Republicans walked away.
The failure to get this done falls squarely at the feet of do-nothing Republicans, who chose campaigning over legislating.
Throughout this legislative session, Senate DFLers have been fighting for the values we all share: an economy that works for Minnesotans, a safer Minnesota with thriving communities, and a higher quality of life for everyone in every corner of our state. That commitment remains, and Senate DFLers will not stop fighting to fulfill the promises we made to Minnesotans.