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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Marion Rarick (R)

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Legislative Update and Survey

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Neighbor,

Your input is valuable to me, and I'd like to hear from you about important issues being debated at the Capitol. If you haven't done so yet, please take my survey by clicking the link below. Also, don't forget to share it with your family and friends in District 29B!

Small Business Caucus

In the Small Business Caucus last Monday, March 16, we heard from a number of great business leaders including local Big Lake restaurant owner, Darek Vetch and Monticello business President, Eric Gibson about their legislative priorities. We heard from business leaders in staffing, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, in-home health care and information technology. 

Various topics were discussed including a two-tiered minimum wage, estate tax federal conformity, lowering the recently increased personal income tax on business pass through income, the huge increases in medical insurance for their employees and burdensome mandates. Additionally, we also discussed legislation that offers tax credits for people going into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in high-need areas like long-term care or nursing in Greater Minnesota and House File 1, House Republicans' top priority bill that will help bring more good-paying jobs to our state.

I know what a significant impact legislation can have on Minnesota's economic climate, both positive and negative, and I welcome input from local business owners and constituents about what we can do to improve entrepreneurial success and spur job creation.

House File 551

Last week in the Higher Education and Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Committees, my bill House File 551 was heard and passed. This bipartisan legislation establishes a dual training grant program with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to fund training for occupations in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services and information technology. 

Through a bill passed last session, the Department of Labor and Industry was tasked with providing competency standards for fifteen of the highest need occupations within those four areas.  This bill would provide grants for occupations for which the competency standards have been completed.

Businesses could apply for this employee training grant, and the costs would be shared between the employer and DEED.  The training would be taught by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) who have a proven track record in providing customized training.  Many places around the state, particularly in Greater Minnesota, are facing shortages of workers with training in technical fields. Cutting into our workforce shortage and getting more people the training they need to have good, high-paying jobs is beneficial to everyone. I am pleased this bill is moving forward with strong support on both sides of the aisle.

Republicans Release Budget Targets

Last week, Governor Dayton unveiled his updated budget recommendations to the legislature to account for the additional $900 million our state is now projected to have for the FY2016-17 budget. The governor recommends the state spend all but $13 million of the $1.9 billion surplus and wants to increase General Fund spending by a substantial $3.7 billion over last biennium. And what's more, even with an increased surplus, he still wants to raise the gas tax by a minimum of 16 cents per gallon, taking even more from taxpayers.

The House Majority released a budget resolution on Tuesday, setting targets for each fiscal committee on what it should spend in its respective issue area over the next two years. Instead of spending $43 billion as Governor Dayton proposes, Republicans plan to spend $39.949 billion of the General Fund, returning $2 billion to Minnesotans through tax relief and placing $100 million in the budget reserves.

The Republican budget focuses on the priorities of all Minnesotans, and does so without raising taxes or growing government faster than your family's budget.

As always, please feel free to contact me about any state legislative issue.  You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.



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