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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Friday, March 15, 2013


It has been a busy week in St. Paul. Here are some of the highlights.

New Budget Plan from Gov. Dayton

Gov. Mark Dayton this week officially conceded a number of tax increases he was proposing after it became clear he lacked public and legislative support. Particularly, he backed down from expanding sales taxes to include services like haircuts and oil changes. The governor also eliminated from his plan a business-to-business sales tax which received resounding criticism.

Dayton’s revised budget still includes a spending increase of $2.7 billion over 2012-13. He proposes raising taxes by $1.8 billion through taxes on small businesses (individual income) cigarettes, transit taxes, and snowbirds. The governor’s tax plan would have been detrimental to Minnesota families, businesses and local governments alike, but his new plan still is flawed. We have a projected budget gap of $627 million in 2014-15, yet Dayton proposes raising taxes by approximately three times that much to support more government growth. It is good the governor backed off some of his burdensome taxes, but we are not in the clear because Democrat majorities in the Legislature will author bills to shape the new state budget. Unfortunately, they have proposals to tax everything from gas to alcohol and snacks.

First-Ever Omnibus Veterans Bill

At the annual “Veterans Day on the Hill” this week, I was proud to announce that Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) and I will be sponsoring SF1278 and HF1465 which address bipartisan veterans issues we’ve been working on this session. In the past, veterans bills have been attached to other legislation but I believe these issues are so important that they deserve their own debate, discussion and consideration by the Legislature. Among other issues, the Veterans Omnibus Bill will focus on: a tax credit for hiring veterans, exempting pension pay for retired vets, revising GI Bill elements, funding Minnesota honor guards, legal protections for Yellow Ribbon Initiative participants, vets license plate provisions, and rehabilitation for vets that serve honorably. I will have more to say on this important legislation as it moves along.

Health Exchange Bill Moves On

The Health Insurance Exchange bill passed off the House floor again last night and had zero Republican support. One DFL member also voted against the bill because of its negative impact on the health insurance industry. Here's my speech from last night:




Meeting with High School Pages and Governor Dayton

I met with Governor Dayton this week about House Files 59 and 60 and was joined by several of the Minnesota House High School Page Program participants. One Page, Garrett Swanson is a junior at Forest Lake High School.

Safe Routes to School

I am supporting legislation that will help fund the Safe Routes to School Program in Minnesota. The measure would appropriate bond and general fund dollars to help develop, create and improve infrastructure such as sidewalks, trails, street crossings and bike paths to make it safer for students to walk and bike to school. Last year the Minnesota Legislature created but did not fund a Minnesota SRTS Program. SRTS is designed to help prevent injuries and fatalities, especially when children are walking and bicycling to school.

Visitors at Capitol

I was happy to host Cub Scouts from Pack #111 and local home school students this week at the Capitol.

Have a great weekend.