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State Representative Kathy Lohmer

501 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4244

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

Posted: 2018-02-23
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Guest Column

A PREVIEW OF THE 2018 LEGISLATIVE SESSION


The 2018 Legislative Session has begun, and while we approved a new two year budget last year, ultimately lawmakers will have more fiscal work to do over the next few months.

 

One of the first topics of discussion will center on federal tax conformity. Though the ramifications of this bill won’t be felt by taxpayers until 2019, it is quite important that we rectify this situation now before as we don’t want to debate it when Minnesotans are preparing to file their taxes next year.

 

Here are the pitfalls with the federal tax reform bill. If we do nothing at all – as in not conform or make any tax changes – the tax filing process itself will be a logistical nightmare. So doing nothing is truly not an option.

 

If we conform to the federal tax code, taxes would experience an increase in tax revenue to the tune of $849 million. That means the legislature will need to take steps to ensure this increased tax revenue is returned to taxpayers in order to prevent a widespread tax increase.

 

Again, none of this will have any impact on this year’s tax returns, but our goal is to have this situation rectified before next session begins.

 

Personally, I will once again be pushing my bill that would strengthen the penalty for intentional public highway obstruction. The freedom to speak openly is one of our most treasured rights as Americans. But it is not your right to break the law, and it is not a peaceful protest if lives are put in jeopardy due to your actions. We already have an illegal highway obstruction law on the books but clearly it is not deterring these unlawful actions, which is why I’m hoping to increase penalties on those who choose to participate in this prohibited behavior.

 

Finally, as this is an even numbered year I expect there will be discussions on a capital investment bill that funds construction projects of statewide significance. One of those projects under consideration is the St. Croix Riverbank Restoration Project, which would utilize $1.9 million in bond proceeds to restore the riverbank and construct three pedestrian overlooks. This in turn would stabilize eroding shorelines and provide buffers between the St. Croix and the land next to the river; protect water quality; and improve public access and aesthetic features along the river.

 

As session moves forward, also know that I’ll continue looking for ways to reduce your health care costs, eliminate wasteful spending, and protect your pocketbook.

 

As always, I am interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at rep.kathy.lohmer@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4244. I look forward to hearing from you!

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