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In January, on these opinion pages, I wrote about the Senate Republican Right Track Agenda to help Minnesotans struggling to afford everyday needs, keep our streets safe and empower parents as partners in their kids’ education.
We proposed bold ideas: The biggest tax cut ever would have put about $1,000 back into family budgets every year. It wasn’t a one-time rebate check, it was ongoing, permanent tax relief to help you afford your life. Our tax bill also eliminated the unfair tax on Social Security benefits for our seniors.
We prioritized recruitment and retention bonuses for law enforcement to boost the number of cops on our streets and voted to impose mandatory minimums to prevent judges from letting loose violent, repeat criminals.
We stood with parents on common-sense policies, so they would be informed about classroom learning.
We genuinely worked together to find common ground on bipartisan solutions. Our priorities as the Senate majority are based on what we’re hearing across the state: Work together to get Minnesota back on the right track.
Minnesotans are struggling with stubbornly high inflation — costing more than $800 per month — and people need relief. You deserve better than one-time rebate checks that disappear when the election is over. With a $9 billion budget surplus, we can permanently cut taxes for the middle class and help our seniors on Social Security cope with the consequences of record inflation.
Along with allocating the surplus, we are setting the two-year budget next year. Past budget proposals from Gov. Tim Walz included billions in new spending and taxes that would hurt lower income and working families the most. We proudly stood with Minnesotans against wasteful government spending proposals that used your tax dollars like a bottomless piggy bank. People expect much more accountability and oversight for your tax dollars.
When $250 million has been stolen from taxpayers and hungry children, you would expect consequences for those in charge. It’s unacceptable that no one in the administration has been held accountable for failing to stop the Feeding Our Future fraud. Every commissioner and agency must be able to account for the money they receive in a transparent way and we will do all we can to prevent this from happening again.
Crime has us all on edge. Violent crime was up 22% in 2021, aggravated assaults up more than 30%, and 900 peace officers were assaulted last year. It’s too easy to commit crime in Minnesota and get away with it. We will continue to support proven public safety measures: more cops, better training, tougher penalties for repeat violent offenders. By getting tough on violent criminals and providing support for law enforcement, we will have safer communities.
This fall, children went back to school for the first time in three years without the looming issues of hybrid or distance learning impacting their success. The setbacks students struggled with during the pandemic accelerated declining test scores. Nearly half our students are not reading at grade level.
Our children need to get on the right track, and we need to partner with schools and parents to help them. Rather than onerous mandates and divisive political agendas, we support proven literacy and mental health programs so kids can focus on academics.
Senate Republicans have been leading the way on lower taxes, safer streets, and putting kids first in education. We all expect better than the waste, fraud and abuse that has plagued the current administration.
We’ve talked to voters in every corner of the state about their concerns — about how they are struggling with the crushing impact of rising inflation. You’ve told us how you are concerned about your children’s education and whether they’ve fallen behind. Many are dismayed at the lack of support for the men and women of law enforcement who keep our communities safe and outraged at how violent crime has gotten out of control.
Minnesotans deserve leaders who will listen to their concerns and take the steps necessary to respond to them. Republican legislative majorities will bring real solutions to the problems Minnesotans are facing every single day.
Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, is majority leader of the Minnesota Senate.