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

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Legislative Update (4-17-15)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s email update. I am excited to bring you up to speed on what’s happening in St. Paul.

House Republicans Set Budget Targets

Late last month, House Republican leadership unveiled our targets for the 2016-2017 state budget. Our plan would spend about $39.9 billion. This is about $3 billion less than the governor’s proposed $43 billion budget.

Here are some of the top line numbers from our proposal:


  • GOP General Fund proposal: $39.9 billion


  • Tax Relief for Minnesotans: $2 billion


  • Money to Budget Reserves: $100 million – governor’s budget puts no money in reserves

Our proposal reflects our belief that government should not grow at a faster rate than family budgets. For example, Minnesota families’ budgets increased 12 percent from 2000 until 2013 while Governor Dayton’s proposed budget increases government spending by 75 percent from 2000 until today. In contrast, our proposal increases spending over the current biennium by 1.7 percent.

Ultimately, we set our budget targets with Minnesotans’ values in mind and aimed to prioritize education, roads and bridges, and protecting our aging population’s quality of life. Furthermore, while the state has a budget surplus, most Minnesotans are not seeing a surplus in their own budget, which is why we’re putting $2 billion back in the hands of hardworking taxpayers.

2015 Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Regulations

The DNR released its 2015 fishing regulations for Lake Mille Lacs this past week. In an unprecedented move, officials lowered the walleye limit on Mille Lacs to one and banned night fishing for the entire season. Here are the details:

Walleye – limit of one and the fish must be 19- to 21-inches long or longer than 28 inches. Night closure from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. May 11 to Dec. 1.

Northern pike – Limit of 10. One fish may be longer than 30 inches only if two fish shorter than 30 inches are caught on the same trip and in possession.

Bass – Limit of six small mouth and largemouth bass in combination. Only one small mouth bass may be longer than 18 inches.

There will be two exceptions to the night fishing ban. Beginning Monday, June 8, muskie anglers may fish at night with artificial lures longer than 8 inches or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Also, bow fishing, for rough fish only, will be allowed at night beginning June 8 provided no angling equipment is in a boat.

For more details on the regulations, you can read the DNR’s press release here.

Finance Bills Beginning to Take Shape

A number of finance bills are beginning to take shape and I am excited to share with you a few of my bills that have been included in various committees’ omnibus bills.

In the Property Tax Division Report, a provision of mine was included which would reduce the amount of the penalties for homestead and non-homestead properties (capped at 8% and 12% respectively) vs 10% and 14% currently.

Under current law, half of property owners’ property taxes are due by May 16th, and the other half by October 16th. However, the penalties in the second half of the year grow at a much quicker rate than those in the first half.

This cleans up complicated situations for families who may have just inherited property from a deceased family member and were otherwise unaware of property taxes that may have been due and the penalties associated.

Additionally, I authored a provision that has been included in the Higher Education finance bill that allows students who complete associate degrees to transfer into bachelor’s degree programs without losing credit or taking additional prerequisites. This makes it easier for students to transition between a two and four year degree at our MNSCU colleges and universities.

Finally, a bill that I authored is being included in the Education Finance Committee's finance bill. This bill would allow school districts that have 30% or more seasonal recreation properties to be eligible to receive more aid from the state which would offset the high property taxes land owners pay in these school districts to make up for their small property tax base.

Staying in Touch

Please take a moment to fill out my 2015 Legislative Survey. You can complete the survey online by visiting here. You can find a link on the right hand side, under the heading "Feedback Wanted".

“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.