For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Yesterday, I attended the briefing by the Minnesota Department of Management & Budget for legislators on the updated budget forecast for the next biennium. It was great to hear that our projected budget deficit has shrunk from $1.1 billion to $627 million – a $463 million improvement! I was delighted to see what I know to be true – that the Republican-led legislature of the previous two years set our state on the right course. Click here to see the graph of the budget improvement over the past two years. Given the heavy tax burden Governor Dayton seeks to impose on hard-working Minnesotans, I do not understand why we would want to abruptly shift the car into reverse and push the pedal to the metal going backward. We’re on the road to recovery, but given the fragile nature of our economy, we simply cannot afford to take more money out of the pockets of the private sector to continue to fuel the expansion of government.
Although I am not a member of the Taxes Committee, I have been attending the public hearings to hear testimony from Dayton Administration officials about the details of the governor’s proposal and to hear testimony from citizens who have serious concerns about it. I was so happy to see SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce President Deb McMillan and business owner Jon Foss in attendance at the hearing. It was pretty startling to hear Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans admit that the governor’s proposal would include a sales tax on snow shoveling, lawn mowing, and babysitting! If you’re interested, you can watch the video clip of that exchange here.
On Monday, the House will be taking up House File 5 – the Health Insurance Exchange bill. As I’ve stated previously, I have major concerns with this far-reaching legislation. The fact that consumers will be forced to share personal and confidential information with the state and federal governments regarding their health is one of the most glaring examples of government overreach in my opinion. I also worry and am convinced that healthcare costs will skyrocket. Another troubling aspect of this legislation is the lack of oversight over the unelected and unaccountable seven-member board that will be making decisions on what coverage consumers can have under the exchange. I continue to believe that every-day Minnesotans can make better healthcare decisions for themselves than those made for them by the state or federal government. Monday’s debate will go well into the evening and likely into early Tuesday morning. I encourage you to tune in as well as send me your thoughts, questions, and concerns on this legislation so that I am accurately able to articulate your views when I speak out on your behalf on the floor of the House.
During my Government Operations Committee meeting this past week, I was excited to see that high school students from Mound-Westonka were in the room to observe the hearing. I enjoyed meeting with each of them and speaking to their group after they left the hearing about the bill we heard that day in committee. Providing experiential education opportunities to students – such as visiting the Capitol, observing session from the gallery of the Minnesota House or viewing a committee hearing – offer wonderful ways to learn about how our government works.
This past week, I met with Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. I appreciated him taking time to update me on public safety issues in Hennepin County, which represents approximately 70% of my district.
This morning I had the privilege of meeting with former state Senator Gen Olson and other stakeholders to discuss ways we can protect Lake Minnetonka from the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and Zebra Mussels specifically. Clearly, Lake Minnetonka is a crown jewel within our community that is a widely recognized regional asset as well. Even though I do not serve on an environment committee, doing what I am able to preserve Lake Minnetonka’s health and beauty is a top priority for me and I look forward to building coalitions with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure Lake Minnetonka remains as vibrant a resource for our children and grandchildren as it is today.
Once again, I want to thank those of you who have contacted me with your questions, comments, and concerns. If you missed my previous legislative updates, you can find them on my website. If you would like to weigh in on bills I’ll be hearing in committee, you can access the committee links via my homepage. Needless to say, things are heating up over here in St. Paul. As your representative, I want to hear from you so I am certain I am truly representing the district. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas for proposed legislation. I welcome your input! You can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-4315. Mail can be sent to Rep. Cindy Pugh, 313 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.
Please encourage your neighbors and friends within the district to sign up for my weekly email updates by clicking here and filling out your contact information. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you!