Hello from the Capitol,
The people living in our community, and all across the state, expect the Legislature to get its work done in the time allotted; the Minnesota House and Senate intend to do that. Over the past two weeks, members of the House and Senate have been working together in conference committees to compromise on the discrepancies between each budget proposal. Unfortunately, initial discussions with the Governor have not proved to be productive, so we are now in the process of sending each budget bill to the Governor’s desk. Normally, the process works more effectively if joint budget targets are agreed upon first – by the House, Senate, and Governor. That way, the legislature can vote on bills that support a balanced state budget and the Governor can consider his support – or suggest compromise. The path we have been forced to take is like establishing a budget without having agreement on what is in the checkbook! The Governor appears to be trying to “run out the clock” on the session. This will only lead to last minute deals and/or special sessions that you – the taxpayers – have clearly stated your opposition to. I share your frustrations with this process. Please know that every budget bill that has passed the House and Senate includes provisions supported by the Governor, so I am hopeful for his willingness to finally sit down to negotiate a compromise on the entire budget proposal presented by the Legislature that benefits all Minnesotans.
The Legislature’s budget priorities are as follows:
- To provide $1.1 billion of tax relief to farmers (reducing the burden they pay for school bond referendums); seniors (reducing their taxable amount of social security income); and students (providing student loan tax credits and college savings incentives). Tax relief for middle class Minnesotans – not tax relief “for the rich” as others have stated.
- To invest more than $1 billion in new expenditures to our schools.
- To pass an immediate $2 billion investment and a $5 billion long-term transportation plan that repairs and improves our crumbling transportation infrastructure. The bill also includes a special fund of $25 million for 97 bridge projects recommended by MnDOT. Our plan would be funded through current taxes on auto parts, auto rentals, and motor vehicle lease sales, as well as through bonding money.
I will continue to advocate for a budget that supports the needs of our district and balances tax relief and investments in transportation and education.
Buffer Legislation Update:
This week, a bipartisan coalition of legislators and agricultural stakeholders sent a letter to Governor Dayton urging him to finally compromise on the House and Senate proposed reforms to the 2015 buffer law with the goal of protecting Minnesota’s waters, while not also burdening farmers and landowners. Buffer regulation is not a partisan issue and it should not be treated as such. I am calling on the Governor to seriously address these concerns and negotiate a compromise.
This week, Senator Goggin and I were visited by students from Goodhue and Wabasha-Kellogg Schools; it was great to meet with some of our community’s students!
Stay In Touch:
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.
I appreciate your comments and concerns as it helps me be a better representative.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!