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Sen. Weber shares update as session gets underway

Guest Editorial
Bill Weber, Luverne, District 22 Senator

This year’s legislative session will be about getting Minnesota back on the right track. My priorities will be to tackle the tax infrastructure, the state's education system, and public safety.
With a $7.7 billion surplus in the Minnesota state budget, there are a lot of opinions about what to do with all this extra money.
Before I discuss what we should and should not do with the money, I would like to briefly discuss the glaring problem that you probably noticed yourself — the fact that we have a $7.7 billion surplus.
Simply put, Minnesota government has taxed you too much. Governor Walz recently proposed a solution to give a small refund of $150 to $350, which would only total around $700 million of the $7.7 billion surplus.
We can do better than that. First, we need to adjust all our tax rates, especially the income tax rate, where we are doing a targeted, permanent income tax relief to all families.
Second, we can also eliminate social security from the state’s income tax with this budget surplus. You, the taxpayers, have paid tax on the money that went into the social security program. You should not have to pay for it again.
Third, we can also pay off the $1 billion unemployment tax loan we owe the federal government with this budget surplus. With this loan paid off, we will not have to charge businesses additional unemployment tax, thereby reducing the cost of doing business.
Finally, we can address our infrastructure issues throughout our state. With this money, we can repair many of Minnesota’s aging roads, bridges, and buildings.
There is also a major need in our nursing homes and adult care facilities for help. We must avoid the closing of more facilities and we should consider a program to be of assistance.
The school closures due to Covid have been a terrible experience for the children and parents. The school policies enacted during the pandemic have left many children behind from Covid learning loss.
To also add to that trouble, school classrooms in some places have become a place of political activism that has cost the children their education.
I will focus on bringing schools back to the basics, a place where children learn and meet their math and reading scores. I am also committed to bringing increased transparency and accountability in schools. This means parents should know what their kids are being taught and have a say in the students’ education.
Public safety
Every Minnesotan deserves to live in a safe community. The best way to ensure this is by supporting our local law enforcement and giving them the resources they need to do their job.
With activism in our state that seeks to disparage our law enforcement officers, we have seen a significant uptick in crime. Along with this uptick in crime, we have seen a lot of officers quit and retire early.
This anti-police activism has discouraged people from applying to become peace officers, and departments across the state have seen a significant decrease in applications compared to years before.
We need to support our law enforcement and increase their presence on the streets and highways of Minnesota.

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