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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Costly budget bills arriving on House floor

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dear neighbor,


This week we started receiving omnibus finance bills on the House floor – a package of bills the Democrat majority has authored to establish a state budget for the next two years.


House Democrats unveiled their tax bill earlier this week, providing clues as to how they envision fitting together all the pieces of the budget puzzle. Their proposal includes a $2.6 billion tax increase to address a $627 million projected shortfall, so we can assume they plan to inflate spending.


Revenue continues to grow in Minnesota and last month alone the state received $145 million more than previously projected. It concerns me these proposed increases in taxes and spending could stifle our economy’s resurgence.


Among the omnibus bills we saw on the House floor this week is one that funds environment, agriculture, and rural development agencies and programs. It passed the House floor Thursday.


It seeks to better protect our land, air, and waterways while promoting the agriculture industry and its products. The proposal spends nearly $822 million on agriculture and environment programs.


Of chief concern, this legislation includes unwanted, unnecessary, expensive programs. Citizens would pay more if they use city water, own a permitted well or lake cabin, want to paint or re-carpet their home, or just change the batteries in their TV’s remote control. The bill raises dozens of new fees and taxes, which will cost taxpayers and businesses.


The first budget bill we discussed on the House floor this session was on Monday, when we took up a $436 million jobs bill. While the goal of the bill is to grow jobs, the only ones House Democrats could guarantee were at least six new full-time government positions.


The proposal contains at least $8 million in wasteful spending on programs that will not create any jobs, falling short of its goal of improving the jobs climate in Minnesota.


We in the minority expressed objection to this bill, largely because it spends nearly $55 million more on commerce and jobs programs over the next two years, with little evidence to suggest it will actually create new job opportunities for unemployed Minnesotans.


The House is in session again today and Saturday to examine more omnibus bills. We expect to receive the two largest, most expensive of these bills – K-12 education and Health and Human Services – next week. I will pass along word on them next time.