Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.
The 2018 legislative session begins February 20, and I expect this to be a fast-paced and busy session. We will be working to build off of last year’s successes, focusing on key transportation needs, veteran priorities, education reforms and more.
One key issue that we will look to tackle this year is federal tax conformity. With a comprehensive tax overhaul at the federal level, projections currently estimate that conforming to the federal tax code will result in about $850 million in additional revenue for the state of Minnesota. We will be working to mitigate that so every penny of tax relief goes to taxpayers—not state government. While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act won’t impact Minnesota filings until 2019, tackling this now will help ensure taxpayers can take full advantage of federal tax relief and keep more of their hard-earned money.
Additionally, I introduced legislation this session to ensure that along with post-secondary college options, school counselors also share the opportunities that our branches of the military provide after graduation. My bill would also require that along with a variety of colleges and prospective employers visiting high schools, military recruiters are given the same opportunity. The military has put many on wonderful, fulfilling career paths, and I want to ensure Minnesota high school students know all the options that are out there.
Last session, my bill to address transportation funding sparsity for school districts like Forest Lake was signed into law. The school district faces around a $1 million deficit annually, as do many other districts around the state. It was a good start to address this problem, and I’ll be working with the Forest Lake School District again this session on this issue.
Finally, I will be advocating once again this year for a bill that reduces the taxes local groups pay on charitable gambling collections. I believe those dollars do better to remain in the hands of the community for groups like American Legions, Lions Clubs, VFWs, youth associations and local sports organizations instead of going to the state. I am hoping we can get that legislation signed into law this year.
There are a number of issues in all areas of state government that I expect to see move forward this year. If you have input, ideas or concerns, I welcome you to contact my office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-4124 to discuss legislation or set up an appointment. I am here to serve you!
Many of you may have read about or experienced firsthand problems with our state’s new licensing and registration system, MNLARS. The Dayton Administration recently announced that they will be seeking another $43 million this session to address problems with the program that launched last summer—on top of the nearly $100 million that taxpayers have already spent on MNLARS over the last decade.
After it launched, Governor Dayton’s Administration was adamant that the problems that came with the rollout were overstated and would be fixed quickly. Instead, we see the administration now demanding taxpayers pay millions more for this catastrophic failure.
This is an extremely important issue for our citizens, deputy registrars, and auto dealers, and we will continue to look for reasonable, common sense and fiscally-responsible solutions this session. The Dayton Administration is responsible for this mess. They must take responsibility and put forward real solutions to provide citizens with a workable system.
Veterans Day on the Hill
On March 12, Minnesota veterans are having their day at the Capitol. I will be speaking during the rally in the rotunda which starts at 10 AM.
I would encourage all of our veterans and those interested in veterans’ issues to come down to the Capitol and make your voice heard! You can find out more details here.
As always, thank you for the honor of being your state representative. Please contact me with any questions or input you may have; I look forward to hearing from you.