Some may have thought it to be a strange maneuver when House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-15A, St Cloud) combined various bills into one. If Rep. Mark Olson (R-Big Lake) were still in the House, we know he would have had his objections. The combining of these different pieces may be harder to track, but it streamlines the process and since the House is not increasing funding, rather they are moving different monies around and drawing from different pots, while still holding the line at zero. The three big bills are: K-12 Education Bill and the Higher Education Bill, Agriculture & Energy along with the Jobs and Energy Bill, and Health and Human Services with the Public Safety and State Government.
Now, people should remember this is what the House did last legislative session as well. The House is maintaining zero increases in order to maintain their commitment to transportation funding a tax decreases, but since they lack agreement with the Senate over funding for servicing the debt on these bonds. Republicans want to remove sales of auto parts, rental vehicles and car leases from the General Fund while Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) and the state Senate want to increase the gas tax by $0.16.