Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update with the latest news from St. Paul.
With Friday being the legislature’s third and final committee deadline, we wrapped up another busy week at the Capitol last week. In order for a major finance or appropriation bill to have a chance to ultimately become law, it must be approved in committee by the third deadline. The focus last week was primarily on committee work as committees worked on and approved their respective omnibus finance bills. In the coming weeks, these bills will make their way to the House floor for debate and approval by the body as a whole. Our Public Safety omnibus bill is one of these, and I will follow up with an update on the bill as it continues through the legislative process.
Near the beginning of session, state officials announced a $329 million budget surplus for the state of Minnesota. The House recently adopted supplemental budget targets for how to best make use of that surplus. House Republicans remain focused on dedicating the majority of this surplus to providing meaningful tax relief to Minnesota’s middle class families in addition to making transportation investments in roads and bridges.
Governor Dayton also released a budget proposal recently and a report by his own Department of Revenue indicates that the overall proposal would raise taxes on Minnesotans of all income levels. The report found that under the governor's plan, Minnesotans in every income bracket would experience a tax increase, and that households making less than $32,000 would be hit the hardest. The governor has also proposed reinstating more than $1 billion in health care tax increases, repealing tax reductions enacted last session, and numerous changes reacting to tax changes at the federal level.
House Republicans are going in a different direction with our supplemental tax bill, which was unveiled at the end of last week. Its main focus is on simplifying Minnesota’s tax code to allow taxpayers to fully benefit from recent federal tax reform as well as to provide additional tax relief to middle-class Minnesotans. The bill would ensure our state’s middle-class families keep more of what they earn by providing a tax rate reduction for the first time in nearly 20 years. This bill will begin its way through the legislative process this week in committee; I’ll be sure to come back with more details in the weeks ahead.
At the Capitol
It was great having Spencer Kotys shadow me at the Capitol last Wednesday. Spencer is a senior at North Branch and has been accepted in to the Coast Guard Academy for this fall.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your family on a matter of state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4346 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend.