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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jim Nash (R)

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Legislative Update (March 31, 2017)

Friday, March 31, 2017

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Dear Neighbors,

I have great news: Carver County was recently named the healthiest county in Minnesota! According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Carver tops the list for our state. If you want to read the full story, please click here.

Tax Relief

Yesterday, the House passed our $1.35 billion tax relief proposal. Currently, our state has a large budget surplus, and I believe that Minnesotans are being overtaxed and need relief. Our bill goes to help middle class Minnesotans by focusing this relief on:

  • $203 million for local, main-street businesses by exempting the first $200,000 in property value from the state general levy.
  • More than $125 million to help make college more affordable through a first-in-the-nation tax credit for student loan payments.
  • $42 million in relief for farmers by reducing what farmers pay for school bond referendums.
  • $269 million in relief for Minnesota’s senior citizens by increasing the income limit at which social security income is taxable.
  • $35 million for working families with young children by modifying the child and dependent care credit.

The bill will now be negotiated between the House, Senate and the Governor.

Protecting Taxpayers

This week, in the State Government Finance Committee, I continued digging into a state program called “gain sharing.” The program was enacted by a previous legislature in order to encourage and reward state employees to measurably save the state money. The reward could be up to 10% of the amount saved. This was created as an idea to save taxpayer dollars, and make our government more efficient. Unfortunately, the implementation leaves plenty to be desired.

On further examination, I found that $6.7 million dollars had been paid out to employees via Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB). This means, we should have – at a minimum – found $67 million in savings. The problem? There was no record of ANY savings. If you’re scratching your head right now, we feel the same way.

I continually pressed Commissioner Myron Frans on how these rewards could be paid out if the law says there has to be documented savings for the state. I was met with non-answers and diversion. It turned out that the money paid out to employees was given to people who didn't actually create savings, but instead just did their job and had their boss give them a cash award. $6.7 million dollars in wasted taxpayer money wrapped up in denials and lies by the top bureaucrat at MMB. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as this issue moves forward, but it’s not something I take lightly.

Please Contact Me

Things are staying busy at the Capitol, and I’ve enjoyed hearing from many of you. As you know, I’m here to be your voice, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need something, and please come visit.

Have a great weekend,