Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

Back to profile

Legislative Update (1-30-15)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Dear Friends,

The Governor released the details of his budget proposal on Wednesday of this past week. In total, the Governor’s budget includes a $6.839 million dollar increase in all-funds (general and dedicated funds) spending over the current biennium. Along with this increase in spending is a more than $903 million dollar increase in taxes for the biennium.

The Governor’s budget serves as a starting point for the conversation that is set to take place over how we want to assemble the state’s budget for the next two years. While we have not had a lot of time to digest everything that is in his proposal, I am sure there are portions of his recommendations that we will be able to find some common ground on. However, the “sticker shock” of a nearly $7 billion dollar increase in all-funds spending over the biennium is unacceptable. Minnesotans still face uncertainty in their jobs, their family budgets, and in their kids’ future. Instead of easing those concerns, the Governor’s proposal, which continues to expand the size and scope of state government, will end up increasing the burden on our families.

Also detailed in the Governor’s budget is a massive transportation package. His transportation plan is based off of nearly $9 billion dollars in new taxes, tax increases, and fee increases over the next decade. The heart of these new taxes and fees is a 6.5% increase in the state gas tax. A proposal to increase the gas tax is especially ill-timed given the fact that Minnesota families are finally starting to see some relief at the pump as gas prices have fallen.

At the end of the day, budgets are about priorities. That’s why I am disappointed to see that the Governor failed to include increased funding to address the problems our rural nursing homes are having and instead chose to spend millions of dollars on our state’s broken MNSure system. I am looking forward to digging into the Governor’s budget in the coming weeks as committees begin to take a closer look at the recommendations.

On Monday, I was fortunate to have voted in favor of and helped pass Senate File 1 which brings additional aid to 47 counties and 3 tribal governments across the state as they continue the cleanup from last summer’s severe storms. In total, the bill calls for $17 million dollars in state money to use as a match with the federal government. The federal government in turn kicks in $50 million dollars in additional aid. All in all, it is a great deal for the state and gives these counties and tribal governments the additional resources they need to complete the cleanup and repairs caused by flooding and other damage during last year’s severe storms.

This past week, the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee began hearings on the outdoor heritage fund appropriations bill. This bill includes spending as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. I am hopeful that we, as a committee, are able to ensure that more of this money is spent on projects that have direct impact on preserving the outdoors and benefits for sportsmen. Too often in the past, this money has been spent on projects that do not benefit fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. I am committed to working to see that more of this money is used for what it was initially intended to accomplish.

Liking” my Facebook page and “following” my Twitter account are both great ways to stay connected with what is going on here in St. Paul.

If you are planning on being in St. Paul this session, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 651-296-4929 or via email at to set up an appointment. It would be an honor to speak with you and discuss ways we can make Minnesota better.