In the Minnesota House of Representatives, Barb serves on the following committees:
Largest Tax Cut in 20 Years: When the State of Minnesota had a record surplus, we didn’t spend the money on new and wasteful programs – we signed into law the largest tax cut in 20 years. Middle class families, students, seniors, farmers and veterans all benefited from tax relief, all while we added to the state’s rainy day fund. Major highlights include a reduction in the social security tax that reduced or eliminated social security taxes for 284,000 senior citizen tax filers and a new $500 tax credit for college graduates paying off student loans.
Largest Ever Investment in Roads & Bridges: There's no arguing that we're in dire need of investing in transportation. Potholes are everywhere and the roads can't accommodate the number of drivers we have in this state. That's why we passed the largest ever investment in our state's roads and bridges - and we did it without raising taxes.
Fighting Rising Health Care Costs: Reversing the trend of rising health care costs has been a priority of mine. Under the ACA, average rates increased by double digits every year, including nearly 60% in 2017. I supported the 25% rebate in 2017 for people who were buying their insurance through the individual market and getting hit with these high premiums. We also delivered key health insurance reforms that stopped the increases and even reduced rates in some regions to save Minnesota families millions in dollars over the next few years. Even with these efforts, there is still more work to do! I will continue to fight to make health care more affordable in our communities, while ensuring our access to local, quality care.
Championing Agriculture and Rural Priorities: Government overreach on regulations was addressed by implementing a moratorium on MnDOT ditch mowing enforcement, enacting buffer strip grace periods and implementation aid, adding funding for farmers to address noxious weeds, and increasing weight limits for milk haulers. We also lowered the property tax burden on school referendums and provided beginning farmer tax credits to help establish the next generation of farmers.
Investing in Education: Serving on two education committees, I am a strong advocate for our schools, students and teachers. We invested $1.4 billion more for education in fiscal years 2018-19, including $590 million above base, a 2% annual formula funding increase and major investments in early learning. This session we also invested $85 million toward teacher pension reform.
Building a Stronger Workforce: To better prepare students for career opportunities, I authored multiple bills that were signed into law that establish workforce development scholarships, youth skills training grants, and student loan debt counseling.
Supporting Local Tourism and Infrastructure Projects: I secured tourism and infrastructure funding for key projects such as Wabasha's National Eagle Center, the Port Development Assistance Fund, Levee Wall repairs in Red Wing, the Sturgeon Lake Road rail overpass, Sheldon Theater, Mississippi River Blufflands Trail, and the Goodhue County Historical Society.