In a press conference held the week before the start of session, Senate Republicans laid out their list of legislative priorities for the upcoming year but failed to provide specific details or information on the costs of their proposals.
Despite the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was nothing in their proposals to address the needs facing our healthcare system. The proposals also lacked any update on funding for frontline workers or any mention of drought relief for farmers.
In the three major issues raised by Senate Republicans – Public Safety, Education, and Tax Relief – there are some areas of bipartisan agreement.
Senate DFLers agree on the need to address crime after it happens, but unlike Senate Republicans, DFLers are working on preventing crime in the first place while making investments in proven strategies to improve public safety. This includes working together on law enforcement recruitment and retention efforts, while also investing in youth intervention, education, housing, and jobs that are the foundation of safe communities.
DFLers agree that the surplus provides an opportunity to lower costs for Minnesotans. Unlike the Senate Republican idea to reward the highest earners, however, we will prioritize strategic tax reductions that help the middle class, working families, seniors, and small businesses that are still working to recover from the pandemic.
Finally, Senate DFLers agree on the need to provide what is necessary for our students, parents, teachers, and staff to recover from the pandemic and be in the classroom, but we will actually provide the necessary funding to do it. We will not support efforts to politicize the needs of our children but instead invest in mental health support, improved teacher retention, and wraparound services to help students.