By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Senate Republican majority has released its list of priorities for the 2021 legislative session, focusing on COVID-19 recovery plans, balancing the budget without raising taxes, and supporting plans to help Minnesota families.

“Over the last four years, Senate Republicans have fully-funded state government without raising taxes — in fact, we cut taxes for middle-income earners for the first time in 20 years,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. “So, in 2021, Senate Republicans will work to safely reopen schools and businesses to recover our economy. We will keep life affordable by balancing the budget — without raising taxes. That means no new gas tax, no new income tax, no new sales tax. And we are going to ask government to tighten its belt as well.”

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For COVID-19 recovery, the GOP cited reopening Minnesota’s businesses that have safety plans in place to reopen without restrictions, specifically from Gov. Tim Walz, whose emergency orders during the course of the pandemic have been a sticking point for Senate Republicans. All attempts to strip Walz of those powers have been thwarted by the Democratic Party-controlled Minnesota House. Republicans said they want to fully reform how emergency powers are implemented in the state.

Additionally, Senate Republicans say that Minnesota students should return to classrooms, but said it should be determined by school boards and community leaders. They’re also pushing for small business support, focusing on reducing unemployment and addressing the economic component of the COVID-19 crisis.

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In addition to reigning in government spending and not raising taxes, Senate Republicans say they are going to focus on blocking the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency from implementing emissions standards from California, saying to do so would threaten people’s livelihoods.

This comes as Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan unveiled a plan to make Minnesota’s energy “100% clean” by 2040.

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Saying “we have a moral duty to do better,” they are also planning to create opportunity scholarships for students from disadvantaged households, as well as reducing construction costs and decreasing regulations in order to create more affordable housing.