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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update (May 24, 2013)

Friday, May 24, 2013


Dear neighbor,

One of my favorite books to read to my kids is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The title of that book pretty much sums up my feelings about this past legislative session.

At a time when our economy is slowly recovering, the answer from Democrats to solve a $627 million deficit is to impose a $2.1 billion tax increase on hard-working Minnesotans. The Democrat tax plan includes higher income taxes, increased sales taxes on commercial warehousing and storage, higher cigarette and tobacco taxes, and increased sales taxes for individuals on all internet purchases. Under this plan, every Minnesotan will pay more in taxes to grow the size of state government.

Your healthcare costs are also going to go up under the government health insurance exchange that the Democrats passed earlier this session. The political panel appointed by the Governor has the power to impose a 3.5% gross premium tax on your healthcare plan.

You’ll also be paying more in electric bills with the new solar mandate that the Democrats wrapped into the “jobs” bill with the 1.5% solar standard requirement of retail electric sales with a 10% solar mandate goal by 2030. Setting arbitrary solar standard will make energy more costly and less reliable. It also ignores the inefficient and expensive nature of the energy sources being mandated.

The crown-jewel of bad Democrat legislation this session was the childcare unionization bill. As you know, I’m a former childcare provider. Being able to have my own small business to help kids play and learn was my American dream. However, the big unions decided that childcare providers across the state were a ripe target and Democrats and their big union allies were able to muscle through enough votes in the House to pass this piece of legislation. DFL leaders apparently found enough support – 68 votes – to pass this pay back to the unions. I’m curious as to why so few of the 68 Democrats who voted for it spoke out in favor of the bill on the floor. Any one of them could have voted against it and it would have failed. I’m truly disappointed in them. Not as a legislator or as a Republican, but as a mom and former childcare provider. In the mean time, expect a lawsuit to be filed to halt its implementation once the bill is signed into law. Doug Seaton, a respected labor law attorney, believes the law, once enacted, will be ruled unconstitutional because it conflicts with federal labor law. I’ll continue to keep you updated when I hear more about the lawsuit. You can watch my speech on the House floor from Monday opposing childcare unionization here.

My second term thus far has been quite different than my first term. In the minority, it’s difficult to get anything passed. However, I didn’t let that get me down. I was able to get two bills passed and signed into the law. The first was a bill that would allow Panther Distillery in Osakis – the only whiskey distillery in Minnesota – to offer a 15 ml tasting of each product on site during tours. The bill was included as a provision in the omnibus liquor bill, passed with bipartisan support, and was signed into law by Governor Dayton earlier this month. I may have to stop over to Panther Distillery now after this legislative session! I was also successful in passing a sales tax exemption for capital equipment for businesses.

Now, I’m back home in Alexandria. I’m so happy to see my kids again. My six-year-old Kahllin graduated from Kindergarten yesterday! I’m a proud mom.

I’ll continue to have constituent coffee meetings in the district throughout the interim. Please “like” my official Facebook page to get updates on coffee meetings and other events in the district.

As always, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address: 211 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.