Plus: Minnesota's political shakeup
MNCPA
MINNESOTA SOCIETY of
CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS
Legislative Digest
NOV. 9, 2018

New opportunities in 2019

Elections are hardly boring. This week's results illustrated that perfectly.

Democrats maintained control of the governor's mansion with a win from retiring southern Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz, and they took control of the Minnesota House of Representatives, flipping a 77-57 Republican advantage to a 75-59 Democratic majority. At least four races, though, likely face a recount. Republicans remain in control of the Minnesota Senate.

The election results also usher in an ever-changing demographic makeup of Minnesota lawmakers, with many representatives losing to first-time candidates. When the 2019 session begins Jan. 8, there will be 39 new members of the Minnesota House and one new member of the Minnesota Senate. Among those include two Somali-Americans and four new Hmong legislators.

Legislators and Walz will need to hit the ground running to develop a new two-year state budget, but they will also need to address unfinished business from 2018. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed two tax bills in 2018, resulting in a very complex and confusing set of tax laws for Minnesotans.

Legislators will look for guidance as they debate what tax laws to change and which priorities to focus on for the 2019 session. For most of the newly-elected legislators, this will be their first conversation about federal conformity, transportation, health care, education and many other issues. CPAs can serve as trusted advisers; you are in a unique position to bring individual, client and business perspectives to the conversation.

And how about this for a fun fact: With the DFL winning the Minnesota House, our state is now the only one in the nation that doesn't have one party controlling both chambers of the Legislature. This is the first instance since 1914, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Other races

In statewide races, Julie Blaha was elected the next auditor, Keith Ellison the next attorney general, and Steve Simon was re-elected as secretary of state. Minnesotans also returned Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. House of Representatives races in Minnesota resulted in a group that's going to look vastly different from the current makeup.

Longtime GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen was defeated by first-time candidate Dean Phillips in District 3, while the DFL's Angie Craig defeated Republican Rep. Jason Lewis in District 2, a rematch from 2016. In District 1, which Walz represented for the past decade, it turned Republican in a narrow win for Jim Hagedorn. Similarly, in District 8, retiring Rep. Rick Nolan left a vacancy, and it switched from a DFL-held district to Republican, with Pete Stauber's victorious effort. Democrat Ilhan Omar, who was the first Somali-American elected to the Minnesota House two years ago, easily won a congressional seat to replace Ellison. Elsewhere, Republican Tom Emmer and Democrats Collin Peterson and Betty McCollum won their re-election bids.

For those keeping track, that's five new federal lawmakers that we'll continue to develop relationships with as they transition from candidates to representatives. It also -- when combined with the U.S. Senate -- gives us an even split of five men and five women for representation in Washington, D.C., the first time an even balance has been struck in Minnesota.

See all election results

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MNCPA legislative agenda taking shape

The MNCPA Legislative Issues Committee has met over the past few months to discuss topics for consideration as part of the 2019 MNCPA legislative agenda. Each session is unique, and it is hard to predict everything that might come up; a few possibilities include:

  • Federal conformity.
  • Tax on professional services.
  • Taxpayer bill of rights, including a private letter ruling program.
  • Tort reform.
  • Board of Accountancy statute changes.
  • Office of the State Auditor county government audit review procedures.
  • Occupational licensing legislation.
  • Federal partnership audits and Minnesota statutory changes.

The committee will present its recommendations to the MNCPA board of directors in the next month. Look for the finalized agenda in a future Legislative Digest email.

Do you have any thoughts about the listed possibilities or have others that should be considered? Share them with me by emailing gr@mncpa.org.

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Geno Fragnito Your Lobbyist
Geno Fragnito
Geno Fragnito, director of government relations, is the MNCPA's registered lobbyist working full time on behalf of the membership. For more information or to get involved, contact Geno at 952-885-5550 or gfragnito@mncpa.org.
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