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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) said the upcoming 2016 legislative session will be a success if lawmakers can find common ground on two long-term issues: transportation and tax relief.
"Both of these items were left on the table at the end of last session, and now it's time for House and Senate negotiators to work out their differences," Gunther said.
The Minnesota House approved a tax relief bill last year that would benefit millions of hardworking Minnesotans. Among the beneficiaries: farmers, senior citizens, and Main Street business owners.
"Farmers are paying a disproportionate share of school levies, elderly residents are losing money because income taxes are being taken from their social security checks, and small business owners are hampered by a special property tax that costs them thousands of dollars every year," Gunther said. "With a surplus of more than $1 billion, we need to fix these problems."
The House also approved legislation last year that would dedicate $7 billion over the next ten years to road and bridge funding without raising taxes. The revenue would come from rededicating auto-related taxes that are already being collected, along with utilizing some bonding and general fund dollars. The Senate approved a transportation plan that would ultimately raise the price at the pump by a minimum of 16-cents per-gallon.
"To me, the biggest highlight of the House plan – besides leaving taxes alone – is that it provides a permanent funding source for street repairs for cities with fewer than 5,000 residents," Gunther said. "It's a very positive bill for Greater Minnesota and I'm hopeful we can reach a quick compromise."
Gunther also noted that a capital investment proposal and broadband will also be debated this session.
"Wastewater and drinking water infrastructure along with building needs on our college campuses will likely find their way into this session's bonding bill," Gunther said. "Broadband received a needed investment last session but most lawmakers think we will revisit the topic again this session, as reliable broadband is critical to the success of economic development in Greater Minnesota."
As session moves forward, you are encouraged to contact Rep. Gunther with your legislative questions or concerns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 651-296-3240.
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