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Senate GOP outlines forward-looking plans

Leaders in the Republican-led Minnesota Senate have outlined their priorities for the 2020 legislative session that begins Feb. 11. Their plans are not perfectly defined, but their direction is the right one.

Majority Leader Paul Gazelka touts what Republicans have able to achieve already, namely a combination of tax relief and sensible investments. While some politicians would have you believe the state can spend anything anytime and never face any consequences, Senate Republicans have held the line and worked to tie the state budget to reality.

Given a state budget surplus of $1.5 billion this year, GOP senators say it is clearly time to reduce the tax burden. “We are taking too much from hard-working Minnesotans, and they deserve relief,” says Senate tax committee chairman Roger Chamberlain. Indeed.

The Senate will address the state’s needs for infrastructure and transportation improvements through a bonding bill. But, again, senators want to act sensibly and are not suggesting a gas-tax hike.

Senators aim to act proactively as they note the rising problem of violent crime in the Twin Cities. Homicides, for example, are up 32 percent in Minneapolis since 2018, up 73 percent in St. Paul. “Crime isn’t just a metro-county or urban city problem. It affects our entire state when people don’t want to visit the Twin Cities, when they are fearful to go to a baseball or football game downtown, and it’s a problem we can’t ignore,” said Sen. Warren Limmer, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

There are a host of other topics in the Senate GOP’s “Vision 2020” agenda. We look forward to seeing those ideas fully fleshed out and advanced as the Legislature works toward a final compromise in May.

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