Final Days of Session: What’s Left?

Democrats have now sent all major budget bills to the Governor for signature, with the exception of major packages in transportation, health & human services, taxes, and capital investment. Although Rep. Frank Hornstein (D-Minneapolis) has told media that a new gas tax and a delivery fee (to apply to food delivery and rideshare services) may be included in the transportation package, the conference committee hasn’t met publicly for a week. Leaders have made assurances that the health & human services package has an agreement, but the gargantuan spreadsheet and bill language is still being compiled. Finally, the jury is still out on the direction of a capital investment bill: currently, without a deal between the DFL and GOP, lawmakers are considering a $1.3 billion cash-only proposal. If a deal were to materialize, there is still time to include general obligation bonding in the bill.

Tax Bill

Taxes conference committee members agreed this week on a sweeping package of tax cuts and increases (H.F. 1938). The bill includes a variety of new provisions including:

  • A one-time $260 (per filer and dependent, to a maximum of $1,300) direct payment for households making under $150,000 per year
  • Child tax credit of $1,750 per dependent, with a gradual phase-out based on income
  • Tax relief for Social Security benefit recipients making up to $100,000 jointly per year
  • Changing the existing renter’s income tax refund to a credit
  • Bringing Minnesota into federal conformity on global intangible low-tax income (GILTI)
  • New 4d property tax benefits for affordable housing providers
  • Increases in local government aid
  • Reinstatement of historic preservation tax credit

Adult-use Recreational Cannabis

Late Thursday night, the House passed the conference committee report for the adult-use recreational cannabis bill (H.F. 100). The Senate is expected to pass it on Friday and send to the Governor for signature. If passed, the bill will decriminalize marijuana possession for personal use on August 1, 2023. Dispensary sales of recreational product would not be available for more than a year while a new state agency, the Office of Cannabis Management, is set up and begins to process license applications.

Four Days, 96 Hours, or 5,760 Minutes

This week marks the final full week of the 2023 legislative session and, as of Friday morning, fewer than 100 hours until session must adjourn. Floor debates this week have centered around lengthy lists of minority caucus amendments and hours of member testimony. In a press conference Thursday with Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (D-Minneapolis), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park) said leadership would not hesitate to use procedural maneuvers to end unproductive debates and finish their business on time. They may need it: in the final 100 hours, legislators aim to pass three major budget bills, plus a capital investment bill and the adult-use cannabis bill.

Right up Until the End

While some had hoped to make good on a House goal to adjourn by May 18, we have now passed that marker and all signs point to legislators using up all the time available to them. The legislature hasn’t adjourned early in a budget year in decades—indeed, it is more common that they convene a special session. While May 22 is the final day of session, lawmakers may work through the night. They have until 7 am on May 23 to finish their business.

May 19, 2023