Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

Back to profile


Thursday, March 3, 2016

The 2016 legislative session is likely to be dominated by three topics: transportation, taxes, and bonding. I have a feeling all three bills are going to work in concert with one another, as we will be looking to continue our investment in Greater Minnesota – particularly by fighting for local roads and bridges – without raising taxes.


Last session, the Minnesota Senate majority approved a transportation plan that would have raised gasoline prices by a minimum of 16-cents per gallon. The House countered with a plan that would have provided $7 billion over ten years for statewide road and bridge needs without raising taxes. Our proposal would use sales taxes already being paid on auto-related services and products, along with bonding and a small portion of our budget surplus in order to make the needed investment. The House and Senate continue to work towards finding a compromise between the two solutions.


To me, the key to the House proposal is provision that would permanently dedicate street repair revenue to every town in the state that has less than 5,000 residents. Depending on the size of your community, that results in thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in revenue from a statewide source that did not exist until last year. That'll have impact for each one of the towns in our district, and ensures that more of the taxes we pay stay local.


As previously mentioned, our bonding – or capital investment – bill will also likely address road needs in some fashion. It's my hope that it will also recognize local wastewater treatment priorities statewide as well as Lewis and Clark. We are making great progress on the clean water pipeline, and with more federal funding coming in, our statewide obligations are decreasing.


As we move forward with a tax bill, some of the discussion has changed now that the February forecast has been announced - $900 million, down from the previous $1.2 billion surplus projection in November.


With the economic trends we're seeing nationwide, policies that have led to dramatic increases for health insurance premiums, and the low grain prices, it's too soon to make any promises on how we approach a budget surplus and the tax proposals we currently have out there.


If you have legislative questions or comments, you can contact me anytime at 651-296-5505 or by email at Thank you for the privilege of representing you interests in the Minnesota House, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!