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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Monday, March 25, 2013


As the legislature heads home for Easter/Passover break, here are some highlights from this week.

Making Veterans Part of Building the Vikings Stadium

This week, KSTP covered our Military Action Group meeting in which we discussed a huge effort to award some work on the new Vikings stadium to businesses owned by veterans. Similar to the way minority and women-owned businesses will be looked at to fulfill some contract work on the new project, veteran-owned businesses should also be a priority. You can watch the story here:


Budget Targets Released

Gov. Dayton provided Minnesota with his updated budget plans last week. This week, the House DFL proposed their plan. Details and highlights of the DFL plan are listed here:

Proposed House DFL Budget FY14-15:

  • The budget proposes general fund spending of $39.3 billion for the next two years, which is a $4.1 billion increase in spending over the current two year cycle that ends on June 30, 2013. The $39.3 billion number does not include any of the proposed fees, surcharges or fund transfers that may be a part of any individual fiscal bill.
  • The budget covers the projected $626.7 million budget deficit.
  • The budget plan calls for the addition of a fourth tier tax rate on individual taxpayers making more than $150,000 or married couples making more than $250,000. This new tax rate would be 9.85%.
  • A fifth tier tax rate is also being proposed to pay off the final payments of the multi-year school funding shift. The remaining balance on the school shift is $800 million, down from $2.7 billion two years ago.
  • The budget will dedicate an additional $700 million in K-12 and Higher Education spending and fully-funds all-day Kindergarten for public schools in Minnesota.

Both Governor Dayton and the House DFL have offered plans for new taxes and higher spending to be approved this session, but the House plan goes one step further and establishes a “fifth tier” income bracket on wealthy individuals to pay back money shifted (borrowed) from schools. This is on top of the income tax hike the governor is seeking and it would give Minnesota one of the nation’s top rates. While DFL leaders say the top tax rate will be “temporary” until the shift is paid off, the rate would make Minnesota number one or two in the nation (depending on how you look at the numbers) which will leave consumers paying more, cost us jobs and make Minnesota less competitive in the global market.

This comes at a time numerous states are looking at eliminating income tax systems. House Democrats say they expect their budget bills to pass through the House floor by the end of April. Because of smart financial decisions in 2011, our economy is heading in the right direction and revenue is rising by about 3 percent on its own, without the need of tax increases.

Clean Lakes

I met with the Big Marine Lake Association in Scandia this week to discuss their concerns with aquatic invasive species and other clean water issues they are facing. Many of our lakes aren’t getting the attention they deserve when it comes to assistance with these concerns. I plan on having further conversations with area lake homeowners and the DNR at the Capitol in the coming weeks.

School Landfill Bill

Do you know if your child’s school is built on a former landfill? Children who attend schools near landfills could face unstable ground due to uneven settling of wastes and methane gas seepage, which could cause an explosion in an enclosed school building or groundwater contamination. I sponsored HF957, a bill that would bar school construction near former landfills and would require schools located near former landfills to notify parents of their proximity. Watch my interview with the House here:


Fighting for Wrestling

Many of you have been following my work and the work of others to keep Wrestling as a sport in the Olympics after the I.O.C. ruled it would be phased out. My House Resolution supporting Wrestling as an Olympic sport has been sent to USA Wrestling and our work will continue in the coming weeks. USA Wrestling will be traveling to Europe later this year on our behalf to discuss the issue with Olympic officials.

Have a great weekend.