Everyone is seeing it. As elected officials, we are hearing about it every day from people across the state.
Crime is up, kids are falling behind, and record inflation is eating away at people’s paychecks. Things are going in the wrong direction and Minnesotans are more concerned about their future than ever before.
Senate Republicans are focused on the fundamentals to help get Minnesota back on the right track. We’ll do this by supporting law enforcement and holding criminals accountable. We’ll empower parents to be partners with educators in their child’s education. And we’ll boost our economy with much-needed relief following years of government mandates and shutdowns.
Public safety is a fundamental role of government. The failure of local leaders to adequately pursue, prosecute and sentence criminals has led to an explosion of carjackings and violent crime. However, it isn’t just a local crime problem. It’s the direct result of DFL policymakers and the Walz administration supporting softer sentences for convicted criminals.
Two years ago, Gov. Tim Walz’s appointees to the Sentencing Guidelines Commission rushed a decision to limit parole to five years for most crimes. Just recently, the commission tabled their proposal to reduce sentences for crimes committed on probation, rather than voting it down. Of the 3,600 public comments received on this proposal, 95% were against it. This proposal would put more people with violent criminal records back on the street. This is unacceptable.
Senate Republicans will focus on initiatives to reduce crime and make communities safer. We will advance proposals to help retain and recruit more police officers. Republicans will also continue to strongly oppose any attempts to defund, dismantle or demoralize those who risk their lives every day to keep Minnesotans safe.
Simply put, more cops results in less crime. Additionally, we will stand up for victims and hold criminals accountable for their actions.
Education is another priority for Senate Republicans. We will put forward ideas that prioritize what’s best for the kids by engaging parents, focusing on literacy and taking politics out of the classroom.
Over the past 10 years, education funding has increased significantly, yet test scores have been on a steady decline. The pandemic shift to distance learning exacerbated these challenges and put them in full view of parents, who had to step up as teachers. Our kids continue to fall behind and it’s time we step up and work together to put kids first.
Senate Republicans will help students thrive by making literacy a top priority. If students are not proficient in reading, every subject becomes more difficult and kids fall even further behind. We also feel it’s important to take politics out of the classroom and get back to the basics of reading, math, science and American history.
Finally, parents play an incredibly important role in lives of their children and they have been shut out of the education process too many times. We will empower parents as partners in their children’s education.
Lastly, the state has a projected budget surplus of $7.7 billion, which simply means government collected too much money from taxpayers. We have heard the message loud and clear: Return the money to the people. We are also hearing from many folks who are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of essential goods and services as a result of skyrocketing inflation.
This session, Senate Republicans will pass permanent, ongoing tax relief to grow our economy. The tax relief will be targeted to those who have been struggling most over the past couple years, including senior citizens, lower and middle-income Minnesotans, and small businesses. In addition to direct tax relief, we will focus our spending and policy priorities on things that make life better and more affordable for Minnesotans.
People are frustrated, worried and, in too many cases, scared. Democrat policies have us going in the wrong direction with record-breaking violent crime, an education system that is failing our kids and high inflation.
Republicans want to keep our communities safe, help kids thrive in the classroom, and make life more affordable with common-sense solutions. Senate Republicans will focus on policies that put us back on the right track, now and for the future.
Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, is majority leader of the Minnesota Senate.