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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brian Johnson

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Here is an update on my work at the State Capitol.

New Budget, Same Story

After a report from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) showed Minnesota’s economy improving and budget situation improving, Governor Mark Dayton revised his plan to impose massive tax increases on our businesses and middle-class. The original plan, you may recall, included a new business-to-business sales tax, a new sales tax on some clothing items, and a new sales tax on personal services like haircuts, oil changes, and childhood babysitters. Citizens across the state and in our district spoke up about their concern for these new tax increases and the Governor listened, which I appreciate.

However, Dayton’s new plan, along with the House DFL plan (released yesterday), still asks Minnesotans to pay more to grow the size and scope of state government. In the midst of our economic recovery, new taxes on small businesses are not in order. While the current deficit we must solve is around $600 million, the DFL Budget Resolution raises $2.4 billion in new taxes. It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that this isn’t a balanced solution. The plan also calls for a fifth income tax tier on the wealthy which would propel Minnesota to the highest tax rate in the nation. In all, some individuals (including farmers and business owners) would now pay over 50% of their income in taxes when considering all local, state and federal rates.

Bill to Assist Active Military with Taxes

I was happy to move forward House File 722 which makes it easier for military personnel to take care of their property taxes. The bill is for activated National Guard and activated Reserve members deployed outside the U.S. for 6 months or longer. Constituents from our area approached me with this issue after several military members ran into trouble with property tax payments while they were serving abroad. This bill would give them more time to take care of their financial obligations on their homes and property.

Meetings at the Capitol

Meeting with Citizens for the Arts

Sen. Nienow and I meeting with the East Central Republican Women

Great to have Joey Broding from Stanchfield as a Page in the House of Representatives

Meeting with Ben from St. Johns University for “Private College Day”

Meeting with Minnesota Youth Council for “Youth Rally Day”

Health Exchange Signed by Governor

Governor Dayton signed the bill establishing a state-run health insurance exchange on Wednesday. I have many concerns about the new law, which sets up a new super agency with little oversight by the public. There are still relevant concerns regarding consumer privacy, choice and costs which Dayton says we can “fix” along the way. Significant flaws which caused the governor to call this plan “a big gamble” were not corrected by the Democrat majorities during their rush to passage. I hope his assessment proves to be wrong as the Exchange comes to life.

As always, please contact me with your thoughts and questions.