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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Peggy Bennett (R)

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Legislative News from Rep. Peggy Bennett

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Dear Friends,


The House passed a tax bill this week that brings a needed fix to a costly mistake made by the legislature in last session’s tax omnibus bill.  That’s good news - but with one concerning caveat. 



Last year’s tax bill contained two costly mistakes that will cause Minnesotans to pay more taxes to the state than intended.  One of those errors would cost individual taxpayers in Minnesota an additional $352 million if not fixed. The other is an error in the net operating cost calculations for Minnesota businesses that will cost employers in our state an additional $14.8 million. The majority leaders in the Senate and House promised to fix both of these errors immediately at the beginning of session.


I was looking forward to this tax fix bill coming to the floor, which it did on Monday. The good news is, the $352 million fix for individual tax payers was in the bill and the bill passed. I voted in favor. Minnesotans, who are struggling to afford life under the burden of high inflation, are already set to experience an almost $10 billion tax increase because of last year’s legislation.  We sure don’t need to experience an even larger increase from a legislative error.


However, I was dismayed to find that the second fix was not in the bill. Why wasn’t the promised $14.8 million fix for Minnesota businesses also included? Our employers are also struggling under inflation, as well as workforce shortages and a host of new taxes, fees, and costly regulations.


We were told by the majority during the floor debate that we must wait for the release of the February forecast to make sure we have enough money in the state budget before we can consider fixing this error.


Really, we can afford to fix a $352 million error (which we should!) but not an additional $14.8 million error for businesses? Hogwash! 


I am legitimately concerned about our state’s budget outlook.  We are headed toward a significant deficit for the next biennium. However, this is OUR legislative error committed at the expense of Minnesota employers. 


If we suddenly can’t afford to fix this tax increase error for businesses, then maybe we should take the needed $14.8 million out of the $730 MILLION that was allocated for a new office building for 134 part time legislators. Or we could cut back slightly on the $425,000 set aside for an art program for prison inmates, or perhaps the $25 million a biennium tax credit for Hollywood film producers that is baked into our budget until 2030.


I could say so much more about all the wasteful spending in this state that takes away from core needs like nursing homes, roads and bridges, and more - but I better not or I’ll never get through this update!


Needless to say, I will continue to fight to get this tax error fixed for our Minnesota employers who do not need to bear the brunt of a legislative error.



Tuesday was Ag Day at the Capitol. Lots of local farmers and farm groups came to visit and discuss agriculture related issues with me. It was great to chat with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farmers Union, and other local farmers. Farmers are not only extremely important to the economics of our area and our state, they also provide the food for our tables. Thank you to those who visited today and discussed important agriculture issues!



There were also many local groups and visitors at the Capitol on Wednesday! It was my pleasure to meet with Freeborn County Sheriff, Ryan Shea, who was at the Capitol for the Sheriffs' Day on the Hill. We talked about many local and state law enforcement issues, including the great need for more mental health facilities to help court ordered inmates move from the jails to a facility where they can receive the mental health treatment they need. 



I also had a wonderful visit with a large number of local county commissioners and other county officials from Freeborn, Waseca, and Steele Counties. I learned a lot from these great discussions. 



It is so valuable for me to hear from local officials and residents, the "boots on the ground people" as I call them. Thank you for visiting today!


Have a good weekend,