Two local senators pleased with session
The two Republican state senators representing Douglas County were satisfied with the outcome of the legislative session.
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said Senate Republicans held firm on their opposition to Gov. Tim Walz's transportation tax increases, which included a 20-cent gas tax, and instead pushed for a permanent cut in the middle-income tax rate.
Ingebrigtsen said the cut will deliver tax relief for millions of taxpayers and is the state's first permanent income tax cut in 18 years. He added the final budget deal also includes increased funding for K-12 schools, a top priority for both Walz and Senate Republicans.
"Republicans have spent the past several months promising a different governing mentality focused on the middle-class and our taxpayers, and today we delivered on that promise," Ingebrigtsen said in a statement Monday, May 20. "With this budget agreement, we were able to stop an immensely regressive gas tax, attacks on our Second Amendment, and driver's licenses for illegal immigrants while providing income tax cuts for nearly the first time in two-decades, make critical investments in our schools, and usher in important budget reform for health care."
Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, said that by working together, legislators and the governor reached a bipartisan, balanced two-year budget compromise.
"While imperfect, this budget invests $40 million in rural broadband expansion, delivers middle-income families their first tax rate cut in nearly two decades, and stops the onerous 20-cent per gallon gas tax and vehicle tab fee increases," Westrom said in a statement, also issued May 20.
"Further, we increase the E-12 education per-pupil funding formula by 2 percent each year of the two-year budget, positively impacting Minnesota students across the state," Westrom added. "While I will continue to work with my legislative colleagues over the next few days on the final details, this budget puts Minnesota families first."