Minnesota Report

We asked the following question of Senate Minority Leader Melissa Lopez Franzen (DFL-49, Edina)

C&B: You have conceded the fact that you are not setting the agenda for this legislative session. So, with the fact that this is going to be a session right before redistricting, happens, or new districts, how is it that you’re going to actually have something you can put your fingerprint on that the DFL actually did something, other than the Bonding Bill?

Franzen: “Well, I keep saying the action’s going to be in the senate. A lot of the proposals and the obstruction is going to happen there. So. I can say you are going to hear a very active, and a very vocal senate DFL Caucus on the very issues we’ve been very vocal already on. We have been talking Social Security tax reductions, are caucuses has a position on that. We all voted for it, last session in 2021, and we paid for it. It was a surcharge on investment income over $250,000. So, people making money, over $250,000 and above, that’s where we paid for it. So, when I say paid for it, it’s because if we do a permanent tax cut of any kind, in a session with a surplus, we might be hurting our future fiscal stability and structural budgeting because it’s one-time money. So, we have to be careful. At the same time the Senate DFL has had an on the record position voting for that particular tax, and the Republicans all voted against it. So, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we know what we need to focus on, people who are really hurting, starting with frontline workers, starting with their kids and then we can move to other big-ticket items that we can take those on in a regular session not a supplemental budget session.”

C&B: As a follow-up you’ve referenced then, a tax expenditure situation. What do you have as a program or a policy to backfill? Like Sportsbook, Legalization of Marijuana, what is your backfill?

Franzen: “Well, that would be great if we could have a hearing on cannabis legislation, which I am carrying as well as the chief author, but that is being politicized, so I don’t see that happening this session. There’s been talk about sports wage and betting, but we haven’t heard the proposals yet, so I think they’re on the table, if we can get to a compromise, that is a way we can potentially pay for these proposals. But again, it’s onetime money we have to be cautious, and fiscally responsible so we don’t set ourselves up for a deficit in long-terms budgeting sessions.”