For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Monday evening marked the end of the 2013 Legislative Session. The final weekend of session was marked by many late nights which were necessary to pass the bills that now have either been signed or are still awaiting the Governor's signature for the 2014-2015 biennium budget.
Next week I plan to send out a session wrap-up detailing our work this session here at the legislature. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the last weekend:
Early Sunday morning, the House passed by a slim margin, and despite bipartisan opposition, the conference committee report for the Tax Omnibus Bill. Included in the bill are more than $2 billion dollars in tax increases set to take effect later this summer.
While the Governor and legislature followed through on their promise to tax the rich, raising income taxes on the highest income earners to among the top rates in the nation, they also raised about a billion dollars in taxes that are going to have an impact on all hardworking Minnesotans resulting in more money out of your pocket.
The plan raises cigarette taxes by $1.60 per pack, a substantial increase and one that impacts low and middle-income families particularly hard. Increased warehouse and storage taxes could mean higher prices for everyday necessities like food and gas. These taxes are so misguided, that even Democrats are already discussing the possible repeal of these tax provisions next session when we come back in February. It's disappointing that the last minute nature of the tax plan resulted in poorly-crafted provisions being included that may have unintended consequences.
I was also very disappointed that the conference committee report did not include a Veterans Hiring Tax Credit -- a piece of legislation that I worked on for much of this session with DFL Rep. Connie Bernardy that was included in the House Tax Bill when it was initially passed. It would have provided businesses with tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans.
With the veteran unemployment rate in Minnesota currently at 12%, it has been one of my top priories this session to find ways to better help our veterans, and I was hopeful that this provision would make its way in to the final bill.
I gave a speech on the House Floor expressing disappointment that this provision was not included, and that we must work toward making sure our budget bills reflect our priorities.
Minneapolis Veterans Home included in Bonding Bill
Monday night, the House passed by a wide bipartisan margin a $156 million dollar bonding proposal that provides much-needed funding to complete renovation and repairs to our historic State Capitol building.
Also included in the bill was funding for flood prevention, and the Minneapolis Veterans Home-which secured federal funding to complete phase 3 of this project. Because of my support for our veterans, I was pleased to see this project receive long overdue funding. To learn more about the Minneapolis Veterans Home, visit: http://www.mvh.state.mn.us/minneapolis/index.html
Rosemount Elementary Visit
It was great to welcome 4th graders from Rosemount Elementary School the other day, who came down to the Capitol for a tour. Governor Dayton and Senator Clausen were also there to greet the class. Thanks again for stopping by!
Memorial Day Ceremonies
Memorial Day is coming up this Monday, May 27th, and I hope you will consider honoring our fallen servicemen and women by attending one of the Memorial Day services.
There are two services in our community; one in Rosemount, and one in Apple Valley. Both are free and open to the public. I plan to attend both and hope to see you there. Here are the details:
2893 145th Street West
Rosemount, MN 55068
14521 Granada Drive
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Although the 2013 Legislative Session is over, I am committed to staying in touch with you. I would love to meet with you at a local coffee shop to chat about issues that are important to you. Please contact my office at 651-296-4306 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set something up.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
State Representative, District 57B
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