We entered the 2020 legislative session with a $1.5 billion dollar surplus and a fully-funded reserve fund. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and businesses were forced to close, our fiscal outlook changed dramatically and we now face a growing deficit. I will work to get our state back on the right track. We need to rebuild our economy and get people back to work by investing in workforce training, reducing taxes, and eliminating costly regulations. As we face a budget deficit, we must continue to hold government accountable, crack down on fraud, and work to reform or eliminate programs that don’t respect your hard-earned tax dollars.
Moving forward I will continue to advance your priorities and assist Minnesotans as they recover from the economic and human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an honor to represent you and advocate for the people of Goodhue and Wabasha counties in the Minnesota House. Please contact me any time regarding these issues or others related to state government. I am here to serve you!
2019-2020 Session Highlights
- Funding to expand hospital capacity and protect front-line workers.
- Assistance for small businesses, farmers, and families.
- Accountability measures to ensure tax dollars aren’t wasted.
Income Tax Cut
For the first time in twenty years, Minnesotans will see a reduction in their income tax rates. The second income tax tier will drop from 7.05% to 6.8%, putting more money in Minnesotan’s paychecks. In addition, federal conformity will reduce the headaches and make filing simple next tax season. This is great news for Minnesota’s middle-class tax payers.
No Cuts to Nursing Homes
The House majority pushed for $68 million in harmful cuts to nursing homes. These reductions would have hurt care for our aging loved ones, and made it even harder for facilities to keep their doors open. Rep. Haley and others fought these harmful cuts all session long, and fortunately they were not included in the final budget agreement.
Social Security Tax Relief
Previously, Rep. Haley supported a law that provided nearly 284,000 senior citizen tax filers with Social Security tax relief. This session, she co-authored legislation that would have eliminated taxes on Social Security benefits for ALL senior citizens.
When significant flooding occurred in 2019, Rep. Haley recognized Minnesota was not prepared to assist disaster victims with needed, immediate relief. In response, she co-authored legislation that would replenish funding in Minnesota’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account.
Stopping a $12 Billion Tax Increase
In 2019 the budget put forward by the House majority and Governor Walz included more than $12 billion in tax increases making gas, license tab fees, health care, and everyday goods and services more expensive for Minnesota families. This proposal would have increased the tax burden on families of every income level.
Minnesota is already one of the highest taxed states in the country, ranking in the top ten across all tax categories. Rep. Haley will continue to fight to protect your wallet and make sure that government uses your tax dollars responsibly – without unnecessary tax increases.
2019 - 2020 Session Accomplishments
LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS – Rep. Haley has secured support for a number of local projects in the pending 2020 bonding bill: the Sturgeon Lake Road railgrade separation; sewer, water and public access improvements for Lake City parks and waterfront, repairs to the Lake Byllsby Dam in Cannon Falls, and modifications to the National Eagle Center’s previous bonding allocation to help that project proceed successfully. She also championed Prairie Island’s efforts to become a “Net Zero” energy community.
WORKFORCE NEEDS – Rep Haley chief-authored bills and partnered with her colleagues to ensure the continuation of the Post-secondary Workforce Development Scholarships and the Youth Skills Training grants. Both programs help our high school students and young adults get the skills and training needed to be successful in the workforce.
INNOVATION IN OUR ECONOMY – Rep. Haley co-authored the Angel Tax Credit, which provides a 25-percent credit to investors or investment funds that make equity investments in startup companies focused on high technology, new proprietary technology, or a new proprietary product, process or service in specified fields.
ADVOCATING FOR THE DISABLED COMMUNITY – Rep. Haley advocated for policy changes and funding support for the group homes and day centers that help our disabled community members live with dignity and respect.
RESPONDING TO CONSTITUENT NEEDS – Constituent needs are especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is assisting with DMV backlog and drivers license issues, requesting unemployment, navigating grants and loans for small business, or any problems that constituents have with a government agency, Rep. Haley makes it a priority to assist and get constituents resolution to their concerns.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – In her previous terms, Barb has worked on multiple infrastructure and economic development projects for the district. This includes repayment from MNDot for Hwy 61 cost overruns and construction and repair projects in Red Wing, and removing barriers for economic development plans in Cannon Falls and Welch. She also secured bonding monies for the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, the Port Authority Assistance Fund, the Levee wall reconstruction in Red Wing, the Sheldon Theatre, the Mississippi Blufflands Trail, and the Goodhue County Historical Society.
TOBACCO 21 – Aligns the state with federal law raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.
EMERGENCY INSULIN – Provides for no or low cost monthly insulin supplies to any Minnesotan who can’t afford this life saving drug.
DRUG PRICE TRANSPARENCY ACT – Requires drug companies to file detailed reports when drug prices increase; a first step towards addressing escalating drug costs for consumers.
FARMER MEDIATION – Extends the deadline for mediation to occur and prevents lenders from taking action on affected property to Dec. 1, 2020. The goal is to protect farmers who are in dire financial straits.