For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
With the adjournment deadline less than a month away, things have up over here in St. Paul. The House has been in session every day for the past two weeks - except Sunday ... and I regret to say that I'm not pleased with much of the legislation that has passed the House.
One such bill which has plenty of wasteful spending is the so-called 'jobs' bill. Among other items, it included $28 million for Explore Minnesota advertising, a $5 million loan forgiveness bailout for the St. Paul River Centre, and $360,000 to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for rebranding by marketing consultants. As legislators, we are elected to be good stewards of our constituents’ money; to spend it as though it were our own. Needless to say, I voted “NO” on this bill and others which will increase taxes on hard-working citizens throughout our district.
Another was the Transportation Omnibus Bill. Although transportation is one of the few issues we deal with at the legislature that is actually mentioned in our state’s Constitution, this legislation spends $5.2 billion over the next biennium – a 7.6% increase in spending. I agree that funding critical infrastructure projects benefits our economy and the lives of Minnesotans. However, I also believe that hardworking taxpayer dollars should not go toward wasteful spending projects. We need to prioritize an efficient and effective transportation system, not a more expensive one. That’s why I voted “NO” on final passage of the Transportation Omnibus bill.
I continue to be concerned about the calls for higher taxes from DFL legislators. On Wednesday, we debated the House DFL tax plan which calls for $2.6 billion in tax increases. Their proposal would create a fourth tier income tax bracket and as well as a “temporary” fifth tier income tax bracket. Given the fact that the last “temporary” tax passed by the legislature – a half-cent sales tax increase in 1991 – is still in place today, I am skeptical that any tax passed by legislators in St. Paul would ever lapse. On top of the new income taxes, this tax plan calls for new taxes on tobacco products, alcohol products (beer and wine), and sports memorabilia. Ultimately, hard-working taxpayers will pay more of their money to St. Paul under this proposal. I believe you pay enough in taxes. Before legislators in St. Paul ask for more of your hard-earned dollars through taxes, we should go line-by-line through the budget to eliminate wasteful spending. As a result, I voted “NO” on the tax omnibus bill as well. If you have around 10 minutes, you can watch my speech on the House floor during the tax debate here.
Thanks to everyone who attended an information gathering meeting with Senator Osmek, Representative Hertaus, and me last Saturday. I enjoyed meeting you and appreciated hearing your thoughts on issues of concern to you - many of which are being heard by the legislature. If you were unable to attend a meeting and would like to 'weigh in', please complete either my online legislative survey by clicking here. I'm hopeful you'll take a moment to do so. I'd love to hear from you!
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Excelsior Fire Chief Scott Gerber to tour our community's state-of-the-art facility and to discuss public safety issues. I must say I was thoroughly impressed with the work Chief Gerber, his team and the volunteer fire fighters are doing and appreciated learning about our 'fire district' ... one of only a few in the state where local governments (Deephaven, Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood & Tonka Bay) work together to meet the needs of each city in an efficient, cost-effective and responsive way. Public safety is a high priority for me (I just voted 'for' the Public Safety Omnibus bill last Friday) and I’ll continue to fight to ensure our community has the resources it needs to keep our families safe.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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!