Minnesota’s legislative session ends

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Minnesota lawmakers raced against the clock Monday night to get their final bills passed before the adjournment of the 2023 legislative session.

DFL leaders are calling it a success, citing historic tax cuts. But republicans are pointing out historic tax increases.

The session opened with a splash. DFL lawmakers, among many other things, expanded abortion rights, legalized driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, expanded felon voting rights, legalized recreational marijuana and approved universal free school lunches.

By the time they adjourned, most people were talking about the budget, with billions in tax cuts and billions in tax increases.

Democratic leaders are touting what they call a transformational budget. Republicans are claiming democrats created an economic house of cards for the state and it’s future.

On the tax cut side, families earning less than $150,000 will get $520 rebates. Families earning less than $35,000 will get $1,750 dollar tax credits per child up to three kids. And social security income taxes were reduced, but not eliminated.

Much of what lawmakers approved will also cost every Minnesotan. A payroll tax will be paid by every employee and employer. The sales tax on motor vehicles goes up along with license tab fees and boat registration fees. The gas tax will go up and there’s a new delivery fee.

Northland lawmakers have been weighing in with their reaction to the whirlwind session.

DFL Senator Grant Hauschild of Hermantown told us that despite the DFL control, he did find bipartisan opportunities with republican lawmakers.

“You have to find what you have in common with other people. So there was a senator, Senator Rasmussen, in another county with lake recreation in the central part of Minnesota. We both care about hatcheries and boat landings and outdoor recreation. So we worked together on bills that did that and we got it done.”

Hauschild also brought up Iron Range Senator Rob Farnsworth by name, saying they worked across the aisle on mutual mining issues.

Farnsworth and Representative Natalie Zeleznikar both republicans told us however, that they didn’t feel much bipartisanship.

“Fortunately, we were able to get some money for nursing homes here within the last couple of days and we negotiated for some bonding” Farnsworth said. “And so we’re going to have some projects in my district and so that’s going to be helpful. But overall, I would say that most of the stuff that they’ve passed, whether it’s the public safety bill that you know, where they’re or they’re going after Second Amendment rights, letting people out of prison earlier, you know, most of these bills, I think, are going to have a negative effect on people across the state.”

First term Representative Natalie Zeleznikar from Hermantown said, “I hope that the direction that the majority parties want is going to help good things happen for Minnesota. I disagree with the the direction we’ve taken, but I’m here to serve the people and I’m going to keep working for Minnesota to bring jobs here, to try to get the cost of living down.”

Barring any special sessions yet this year, Minnesota lawmakers won’t reconvene until early 20-24.