For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update with the latest news from the Capitol.
In this Issue:
2018 Session Begins
The 2018 legislative session kicked off on Tuesday, and we are set for a fast-paced and busy next few months. Last session was one of the most productive in recent memory as we focused on Minnesotans’ shared priorities of meaningful, middle-class tax relief, road and bridge improvements, funding for education and stabilizing our individual insurance market.
This session, we’re looking to build off those successes, with a few early priorities already before us.
Federal Tax Conformity
Late last year, the federal government advanced a sweeping tax overhaul which means at the state level, we will need to pass federal tax conformity. The Department of Revenue is projecting that the state will collect several hundred million more dollars in revenue with full conformity, which is why House Republicans are also championing additional tax relief this session.
My goal is to ensure that Minnesotans are able to take full advantage of tax relief at the state and federal level, and I will be advocating that any increased revenue is returned to taxpayers. Tackling this issue now will also ensure a smoother process for filing taxes in 2019, giving Minnesotans peace of mind.
The February economic budget forecast will help give us a clearer picture, and I will share more as we work on this issue in the weeks ahead.
As I’ve shared in previous updates, the new Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) has been a fiasco. Taxpayers already paid nearly $100 million to build the failed system, and now the Dayton Administration is asking for another $43 million to fix it.
Like the MNsure health care fiasco of several years ago, the continued inability of state agencies to develop workable software/hardware and IT solutions is unacceptable. I will be advocating for taxpayers on this issue, championing fiscally-responsible solutions and working toward getting a basic, functioning system.
Addressing Elder Abuse
Last year, the Star Tribune produced a special five-part investigative series detailing abuse and neglect in senior living facilities across the state. It was reported that the Minnesota Department of Health was aware of many of these incidents but failed to properly follow-up. Changes must be made.
While there have been strides made in oversight by agencies since that point, House Republicans will be advancing reforms and finding solutions to address this issue and protect aging and vulnerable Minnesotans. Anything less is unacceptable.
The second year of a biennium is often considered a “bonding year” at the Capitol in which the state incurs long term debt via the sale of state-backed bonds to build or maintain state assets such as college campuses, wastewater treatment plants, prisons and other similar structures. Legislators passed a robust $987 million capital investment bill last year that focused on critical infrastructure and transportation needs across the state. If another bill advances this session, I expect those will again be our priorities.
Governor Dayton proposed a $1.5 billion bonding bill for 2018 -- $600 million higher than what was budgeted for in the November economic forecast and far larger than what many legislators will support. The February budget forecast will also give us a better picture of the economic health of our state and feasibility of a capital investment package this session.
On Thursday, the Minnesota House approved a measure to restore funding to the Legislature after Governor Dayton vetoed that funding last spring. The governor has stated previously he will sign a clean bill to restore legislative funding, and I hope he will do so.
It’s Fish Fry Season!
The Mary Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus are hosting fish dinners on Friday, February 23 (tonight) as well as Friday, March 9 and Friday, March 23. Menu includes baked or deep fried fish, macaroni and cheese, baked potatoes, baked beans, cole slaw, dinner rolls, cookies and beverages. Cost is $11 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under and $2 for under age 5. Dinner will be served from 5-7 p.m. at the church located at 21304 Church Avenue in downtown Rogers.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the last Peppin’s MinnTriv Question. Here is last week’s question: The University of Minnesota developed this type of apple which also became Minnesota’s official state fruit in 2006. The answer is the Honeycrisp Apple.
Congratulations to Steven Stensrud from Loretto who is last week’s winner.
Here is this week’s question: What is the official state gemstone?
The SIXTH correct response will be featured in the next email update.
In order to best represent our communities, I need to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to contact my office at any time. My direct line is 651-296-7806. My email address is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 459 State Office Building, 100 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55155.
Have a wonderful weekend.
**Encourage your neighbors and friends to sign up for my email updates at www.house.mn/34A
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