Local Lawmaker's View: Guns, reading, taxes among legislative work left to do

From the column: "The House DFL majority has seemed more interested in reducing punishment for criminals than cracking down on violent crime."

Jeff Dotseth.jpg
Rep. Jeff Dotseth

The 2023 legislative session is entering its second half with the session’s most pressing issues still hanging in the balance.

Will we leverage the $17.5 billion budget surplus to provide historic tax relief, namely ending the state tax on Social Security? Will our Second Amendment rights survive numerous gun-control proposals? Will we pass legislation to address our state’s reading crisis in schools? Will we crack down on abnormally high rates of violent crime in our state?

We will find out the answers to these and other questions by the time we adjourn in late May. For now, here are quick snapshots of where some things stand.

We face a golden opportunity for historic, meaningful tax relief in light of the state’s $17.5 billion surplus. While we have yet to see the House majority’s complete plan, Gov. Tim Walz’s budget proposal would increase spending by a record 26%, with $5 billion in tax increases, including a $1.2 billion payroll tax on employers for paid leave and an increase on motor vehicle tabs.

On the other hand, House and Senate Republicans recently unveiled a “Give it Back” plan, which would provide $13 billion over two years in permanent tax cuts and one-time rebates. The package features tax relief benefiting Minnesotans both now and in the long term, including lower first- and second-tier rates, a full elimination of the Social Security tax, an $1,800 tax credit per child, property tax relief, and $5 billion in taxpayer rebates.


Minnesotans are facing higher prices across the board at a time the state is swimming in excess revenue. It’s time to balance things out with real tax relief.

Second Amendment supporters have been on high alert regarding gun-control bills that House Democrats are moving through the committee process. The bills would result in unprecedented restrictions. Universal background checks and red-flag gun-confiscation measures are among proposals in the House. In the Senate, everything from registration of all firearms to requiring all gun owners to have liability insurance, which would make it a crime to carry a firearm past a sign, and more have been proposed.

I have significant concerns with each of these bills and will always fight for our constitutional rights.

Regarding reading, half of Minnesota’s students are unable to do so proficiently at grade level, and no real science-based reading plan is in sight to address this urgent problem. House and Senate Republicans recently announced their “Reading Reset” plan to provide solutions.

Reading Reset has three primary components: funding for schools that would like to replace the ineffective literacy materials they are currently using in favor of proven Science of Reading curriculum and instructional materials and books, funding for teacher training and professional development in Science of Reading, and funding for tutoring to help struggling students who have fallen behind.

This should not be a partisan issue because it also is our obligation to our children.

Public safety was a major point of discussion last summer. Now that we are well into the 2023 session, it is concerning to see the total lack of follow-through. The House DFL majority has seemed more interested in reducing punishment for criminals than cracking down on violent crime.

House Republicans, on the other hand, have issued a Safe & Sound Minnesota plan with common-sense solutions to help officers do their jobs, ensure our laws are enforced, and hold criminals accountable.


Thank you to everyone who has continued providing input on these and other issues. I encourage area residents to follow my official Facebook page and sign up to receive e-newsletters by visiting .

Rep. Jeff Dotseth, R-Silver Township, represents District 11A in the Minnesota House. He wrote this for the News Tribune.

What To Read Next
Get Local