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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: Jan 25 2013 6:06PM
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Greetings from the Capitol!


Greetings from the Capitol!

I’m honored to be back at the Capitol this session representing our community. The progress we’ve made over the last two years in a range of areas is remarkable. From education to business permitting, we've reformed and streamlined programs for better outcomes for Minnesotans. I’m looking forward to building on that success over the next term.

Highlights in this update:

  • Budget Outlook Improved
  • Swearing In & Session Start 
  • Governor’s Budget Proposal

Budget Outlook Improved

Two years ago, Minnesota faced a $6.2 billion budget deficit. By crafting a budget that prioritized spending while protecting taxpayers, we now have a $2.5 billion budget surplus for Fiscal Years 2012-13, our current biennium. These excess funds have filled the State's cash flow and reserve accounts, and paid down the "shift" in which payments to schools were delayed. Once projected to be a $4.4 billion deficit for Fiscal Years 2014-15, the outlook has improved significantly and now we have to resolve a $1.1 billion deficit. Minnesota is on the path to recovery.

Not only did we see results in state government, but we also saw growth in the private sector. Just last week we learned that unemployment dropped from 7 percent in 2011 to 5.5 percent today and we’ve seen an 18 percent increase in new business filings. The results from responsible budgeting and streamlined government are encouraging.

Swearing In & Session Start

On Tuesday, January 8th I was sworn in as the 88th Legislature convened in St. Paul. I’m honored this session to serve in a leadership capacity as Deputy Minority Leader. I also have the opportunity to serve as a member of the Taxes Committee, Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee, Rules and Legislative Administration Committee and Ways and Means Committee. My commitment over the next term is to balance the budget responsibly, support reforms to make government work smarter and champion initiatives that will get more Minnesotans back to work.

One of the new sights at the Capitol is the massive chandelier (pictured on right) hanging in the rotunda. For two years, it has been grounded for cleaning and repairs but just last week its 92 bulbs were lit and hung high in the dome. The diameter of the historic chandelier is 6 feet! I look forward to pointing out the newly shined chandelier to any Eden Prairie school groups who will be visiting the Capitol.

 

 

Governor’s Budget Proposal

This week the Governor released his budget proposal for legislative consideration. While I am still in the process of going through his recommendations, my initial thought is that we have a lot of work to do.

Here is some good information on the Governor’s proposal:

  • Governor Dayton’s proposal calls for $37.9 billion in state spending for FY 2014-15. In contrast, our budget for FY 2012-13 spent $35.2 billion.
  • His budget proposed $3.7 billion in new taxes including $2.1 billion in new sales taxes on services and on clothing items over $100. $1.1 billion is raised through a new 4th tier income tax bracket of 9.85% by increasing taxes on the top 2 percent of earners ($250,000 married, $200,000 HoH, $150,000 individual filers).
  • His budget makes $225 million in reductions.

With only $1 of reductions made for every $16 of new taxes, I am concerned about the sustainability of the Governor’s plan and about its impact on middle class Minnesotans and job creators. This week, legislative committees will begin hearings on the Governor's proposal and I look forward to learning more of the details.

I was asked to appear on KSTP’s At-Issue for some initial comments on the Governor’s budget. Tune in at 10 am on Sunday to Channel 5 to watch my segment.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this update. I hope you will to continue to respond with your thoughts and advice as session continues. Your comments help me do a better job representing our community. I can be reached via email at rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn and by phone at 651-296-7449.

Best regards,
Jenifer

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