Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative Jeff Backer

593 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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

Posted: 2018-03-02
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update from Rep. Jeff Backer

Dear Neighbors,

It was another busy week at the State Capitol as committee hearings kicked into high-gear. This year I am serving on the following committees: Agriculture Policy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance, and Health and Human Services Finance. All three of these committees give me the opportunity to work directly on issues that affect our communities in Western Minnesota.

On Wednesday, I had a bill heard before the House Taxes Committee. House File 2421 would exempt the sales tax on residential electricity costs.

Currently, electricity in a residence where it is used as a primary heat source has a five month sales tax exemption from November to April. Other entities receive sales tax exemptions on electricity costs as well including industrial production, farm production, publishing, television commercial production, as well as electricity used in data centers. Furthermore local governments, schools, the federal government, and certain nonprofit organizations have entity specific sales tax exemptions that cover the purchase of electricity.

My bill would extend this sales tax exemption to residential electricity costs. In our society, electricity has become virtually as important to our daily lives as clothes or food. It’s time to end this unfair sales tax and I am hopeful that it can gain meaningful traction this year as it moves through the process.

On another positive note, the Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) office released its annual February budget forecast. This year’s forecast shows that Minnesota is expected to have a $329 million budget surplus for the remainder of the biennium. This good news is directly related to an improved economic outlook thanks to state and federal tax reform.

The report went on to say that “increased U.S. economic growth is arising, in part, from short-term stimulus from federal tax law changes”. Furthermore, the report said that because of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, economists expect more money in consumers’ pockets, which, coupled with low unemployment rates, helps grow the economy.

All in all, it is clear that tax relief is working and I look forward to seeing the continued positive effects as the year progresses.

That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts, concerns, or questions you may have. I can be reached by phone at either 651-296-4929 or 701-361-1909. I can also be reached via email at rep.jeff.backer@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,


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