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State Representative Jenifer Loon

449 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-7449

For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522

Posted: 2016-04-29
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Legislative Update

Survey Results and Legislative Update from Rep. Jenifer Loon


House Image

Speaking on behalf of my education omnibus bill on the House Floor on Monday.

House Image

Addressing the press about my bipartisan education omnibus bill.

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

A problem in our mailing system meant some recipients received my email update on Friday with an error message. I apologize to anyone who received that, and am resending my legislative update so you can be up-to-date with the latest news in St. Paul. I also wanted to be sure that everyone who took my legislative survey is able to see the results.

***

It was a busy week in St. Paul with the House passing our omnibus bills that include policy and funding provisions for education, higher education, environment, agriculture, health and human services, public safety and state government finance. Here is an update from the Capitol.

HIGHLIGHTS IN THIS UPDATE:

  • Survey Results
  • Omnibus Bills

Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took the time to take my 2016 Legislative Survey! Your opinions are invaluable and help me better understand the priorities of our community. We had hundreds of respondents from Eden Prairie, and overwhelmingly, I heard that our community favors tax relief and implementation of a long-term plan to fix our transportation infrastructure, without a new gas tax or metro area sales tax increase.

Here are the full results:

The most recent economic forecast reduced Minnesota's budget surplus from $1.2 billion to $900 million. According to the Office of Management and Budget, that decline is due in part to a weakened economic outlook nationally, lower consumer spending and lower than expected sales tax projections. What are your priorities for state government and the $900 million surplus? Choose up to three.

Invest in our roads and bridges   70.13%

Tax relief   55.84%

Education   35.71%

Environmental protections   13.64%

Public safety   11.69%

Pay down state debt   50.58%

Health care   12.68%

Other   14.94%

 

Last year, House Republicans introduced a 10-year, $7 billion transportation bill that invests in road and bridge improvements. The legislation uses revenue already collected by the state like the sales taxes on auto parts and car rental, and does not raise the gas tax. Do you support this proposal?

Yes   74.43%

No   13.77%

Undecided   11.8%

 

To increase transit options in the metro area (light rail, bus rapid transit and bus services), some have proposed an increase to the seven-county metro area sales tax which is dedicated to transit. A quarter cent sales tax was approved in 2008 and has generated approximately $750 million in revenue between Fiscal Years 2009-2016. Would you support raising the metro area sales tax by another quarter or half cent to expand transit funding in the metro area?

Yes   32.90%

No   59.61%

Undecided   7.49%

 

Under Minnesota state law, Sunday liquor sales are illegal in Minnesota. Do you support repealing this law, allowing liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays?

Yes   59.21%

No   23.36%

Let local governments decide   17.43%

 

Last session, Governor Dayton proposed creating all-day pre-kindergarten for Minnesota four year olds. Proponents claim it will help close the achievement gap for children from low-income families. Opponents claim it is too expensive, school districts do not have the resources or room to accommodate so many new students, and it takes away parent choice in early education programs. Do you support all-day pre-kindergarten at our public schools for all four year olds?

Yes   19.87%

No   68.08%

Undecided   12.05%

 

Tax relief is expected to be an important issue in the 2016 legislative session. Would you like to see tax relief passed this year? *If your answer is yes, please rank your tax relief priorities.

Yes, I would like to see tax relief passed in 2016   77.13%

No, I do not support passing tax relief in 2016   22.87%

*Tax Relief Priorities ranked:

  1. Phasing out the income tax on social security
  2. Phasing out the income tax on veteran pensions
  3. Enhanced tax credits to spur investment and small business start-ups
  4. Property tax relief for businesses
  5. Other
  6. Expanding dependent care credits
  7. Expanding tax credits on student loans

 

Many constituents have contacted my office to share concerns related to our health care exchange, MNsure and the rising cost of health insurance. In the past two years, have your health insurance premiums or deductibles increased significantly?

Yes   55.23%

No   32.68%

N/A   12.09%

 

Omnibus Bills

With the passage of budget bills last session, state government is fully funded for the next two years. Therefore, House Republicans did not increase overall state spending in their supplemental budget bills. Instead, committees were asked to utilize cost savings and repurpose existing funds within their areas for higher priority uses to achieve important policy goals.  

Below I have highlighted some of the key initiatives in our omnibus legislation passed this week.

Education/Higher Education

  • Implements fixes to our broken teacher licensure system
  • Reduces the funding disparity between metro and Greater Minnesota school districts
  • Increases opportunities to expand the diversity of our teacher workforce and stem teacher shortages
  • Funds innovative grant programs to help struggling readers and provide mentors for underperforming students to help close the achievement gap
  • Addresses violence in our schools, with both short and long term solutions

State Government Finance/Health and Human Services/Public Safety

  • Reduces the cost of state government and implements a hiring freeze
  • Reduces salaries for agency and department heads by 5 percent
  • Transitions our broken MNsure health care exchange onto the federal exchange
  • Cuts the MNsure premium tax in half to save Minnesotans money on their health insurance

Jobs and Energy/Agriculture/Environment

  • Addresses economic disparities and workforce development across the state
  • Increases investment in broadband access to underserved communities
  • Makes strategic investments in animal health and disease prevention after last year's avian flu outbreak

These bills will now be used to negotiate final language with the Senate to send to Governor Dayton before the end of session next month. I remain committed to using our $900 million surplus for tax relief and a transportation bill to fix our roads and bridges, two priorities that were strongly supported in my legislative survey this year.

***

If I can be of any assistance to you with a state government matter, please feel free to contact me.  I also welcome your views, questions and suggestions on issues of interest or concern.  I can be reached via email at rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn or you can call my office at 651-296-7449. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,


Jenifer Loon

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