I wanted to share with you a video update I recorded earlier this week. This is another way for me to keep in touch, and I hope you'll consider sharing the video with your social networks on Twitter and Facebook. The update focuses on ways we can continue to generate opportunity and jobs for Minnesota, particularly our young people. Watch the video by clicking here or on the image below.
I've written previously about my strong support for an initiative known as the 5% Campaign. The 5% Campaign, in bill form as HF2408, is a widely-supported effort that provides a long-overdue increase to the amazing men and women who work as home and community based service providers and intermediate care workers for Minnesotans with developmental disabilities.
This issue is especially important in Greater Minnesota. We need quality, highly-skilled workers to care for our most vulnerable citizens. Unfortunately, both parties have erred in not making this a priority in recent years.
With Minnesota's economy on the rebound, we now have the funds to fund this overdue priority. There are more than 70 co-authors from both parties who support this legislation. A motion to move the bill one step closer to the House floor passed by a vote of 120-10, highlighting the wide support from both parties this bill has.
Unfortunately, the majority voted against three separate motions that would have brought this bill to the House floor, allowing for a vote on a standalone bill without gimmicks or political games.
Oftentimes bills like this get lumped in with more controversial pieces of legislation. This turns an otherwise bipartisan issue into a political football. Republicans want to put politics aside and pass this bill because we've heard from Minnesotans that this is an urgent priority, and we frankly feel that we shouldn't be playing games with funding for workers who care for our most vulnerable citizens.
I will continue to support the 5% Campaign, and look for ways to pass this bill without playing political games. It's simply the right thing to do.
Tax Correction bill passes
Today the House and Senate voted by wide bipartisan margins to approve a tax bill to correct some of the mistakes that were made in 2013.
House Republicans unanimously opposed these tax increases in the first place, but we were happy to be part of the solution in fixing them today.
The tax bill repealed the gift tax and three business-to-business taxes including the warehousing tax, the commercial machinery repair tax, and the telecommunications tax. It also conformed much of Minnesota's tax code to the federal code, restoring important tax deductions for Minnesotans filing their taxes.
If you haven't yet filed your tax return, the Department of Revenue is asking that taxpayers wait until Monday to file. If you have already filed your taxes, the Revenue Department will automatically review your return to ensure you receive the deductions you are eligible for.
This is a good start, but was not a perfect bill. With a $1.2 billion surplus, we could have passed far more tax relief than the $443 million in today's bill.
I hope we will consider additional ways to provide tax relief to the wallets of Minnesota families as session continues. I will keep you posted on the status of additional tax relief.
Have a great weekend,