Legislative Update, March 31

MN_Capitol_Building.jpgAs March came to a close, Senate Republicans have introduced some key legislation, while House Republican highlight some questionable spending plans

Utilize the Free Market to Expand Paid Family Leave Access

State Sen. Julia Coleman (R, Carver County) introduced legislation to create an insurance product under Minnesota law to cover paid family leave. “Unlike the one-size-fits-all government-run program proposed by Democrats, this bill has no mandate and allows businesses and insurers to develop customized products to give more flexibility to families and employers.” In addition, the legislation would provide a tax incentive for small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) to offer paid family leave.

If this legislation is approved, Sen. Coleman reported in her latest newsletter, “businesses can provide a competitive benefit that suits their work force, and families will have more options to care for their loved ones in a time of need.”

Youth skill path program for employment-based training

Sen Coleman also presented a bill to create a special designation for programs that provide students with clear pathways from high school to careers in skilled work and the trades. The Skills Path designation will highlight career pathways for students to enter post-secondary programs and apprenticeship training in high school and launch them into great careers in industry and the trades.

Coleman reported that the legislation would enable “high school students interested in skilled careers [to] access information about ‘Skills Path’ education and training programs that utilize career-connected learning, career and technical education (CTE), dual college credit, pre-apprenticeship programs, and other strategies.” 

More Government Funding to Non-Profits?

Rep. Drazkowski (R, Mazeppa) spoke on the House floor on March 31 against a bill that would redirect some of the money generated from a tax on people making bets on horse racing. The tax money is supposed to be used to promote horse breeding in Minnesota, but currently, only about 20% of the funds are being used for this annually. So instead of lowering the fee or leaving the money in the purse to make betting more attractive, the bill would take 50% of the funds in the account and give them to non-profits who will rehome horses that can no longer race.

Drazkowski made the point that government is not a charity. “Great and good causes can be funded by private means, but when tax money is used, it is taking money from taxpayers, rich and poor, to support a private cause. We have seen enough problems with Government funding non-profits in the last few years.” He went on to urge a pause on creating any new direct or indirect subsidies to non-profits until the ones we already have are audited. 

Minnesota Considering Ad Campaign Costing Millions

On March 31, KTOE Radio reported that the Minnesota Legislature is considering a multi-million-dollar ad campaign to gain workers from out of state.  The program would cost $4.5 million dollars and promote a state government website.  State officials say the website attracting employees is currently underfunded for advertising.  A similar plan has been used by Wisconsin to lure workers from Chicago to move north. 

As Rep Erik Mortensen (R, Shakopee) points out, “People are fleeing Minnesota in droves because of pro-lockdown Governor Tim Walz and high taxes.” Rather than spend money on an ad campaign costing several million dollars, the government could slash taxes, return the budget surplus, and stop paying Minnesotans not to work.