Before we get to legislative business, I want to recognize the response teams and citizens who have assisted in efforts related to recent tornadoes in Litchfield and Watkins. Thank you for all your work in helping our communities overcome this challenge.
It has been good to see so many District 18A citizens attending events in our local communities this summer. One thing people continue asking me is whether a special session will take place this summer, namely to address bonding and tax relief.
The short answer is that discussions continue and progress is being made, but the finer points have not been nailed down. Speculation is a special session could take place the third week in August if an agreement is reached.
As a quick refresher, the House passed both bills (bonding and taxes) in late May during the regular 2016 session. Last-minute Senate changes stalled the bonding bill. Then the governor vetoed the tax bill over a one-word “and/or” mistake – what I’m calling the conjunction malfunction.
Some continue to question whether it was necessary for the governor to veto the bill, or if a simple administrative fix – such as a letter of clarification – would have sufficed. After all, the tax bill passed the Legislature with widespread, bipartisan support (123-10 in the House and 55-12 in the Senate). Gubernatorial approval typically is a slam dunk on bills that pass with such strong approval.
This tax relief totals $801 million over the next three years alone and more than half a billion dollars in permanent reductions. Provisions would benefit Minnesotans far and wide, including small-business owners, veterans, college graduates, families, farmers and many more.
In any case, the only way for tax relief the House passed to be enacted before the 2017 session is for the governor to call the Legislature back to the Capitol for a brief special session. The same goes for the bonding bill. The proposal we passed had a heavy emphasis on infrastructure, roads and bridges in particular.
We are reaching 60 days since the regular 2016 session ended, at which point Campaign Finance Board rules indicate legislators may not issue email messages such as this one until after the November election. In the meantime, I will continue representing citizens of our district and communicating with people individually.
Your correspondence always is welcome and you can contact me at (612) 296-4344 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, etc. Or, you can just look for me at any of the various public events in our district – I’m always available to talk at those.