For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
As of Tuesday, the 2014 legislative session is officially underway. It's good to be back in St. Paul as we get to work tackling the long list of issues ahead of us before the constitutionally-mandated May 19 adjournment date. Here are some updates from the first week of the 2014 session:
At the Minnesota State Capitol:
Heating Assistance Funding
I was pleased to see things get started on a bipartisan note during the first week. The legislature voted unanimously to approve $20 million in additional funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, which was set to run out of funding early next month. The program has seen significant demand compared to previous winters due to the unusually cold temperatures and a propane shortage that caused prices to rise.
Tax Repeal Bill
My bill to repeal all three of the business-to-business taxes (HF1973) received its first committee hearing this week as well, and was laid on the table for possible inclusion in a tax omnibus bill that's expected to move through the committee and legislative process this session. I'm grateful to House Tax Committee Chair Ann Lenczewski for hearing the bill, and for recognizing that repeal of these taxes is an important priority for Minnesota families and businesses.
Give the Surplus Back
Today the Management and Budget Office announced that Minnesota has a surplus of more than $1.2 billion dollars. This is a positive indication that Minnesota’s economy is continuing to grow, and an indication that government is taking too much out of the pockets of hardworking Minnesota families.
Following the budget presentation, GOP Leaders announced a proposal to give back the surplus to the taxpayers. The plan includes: repealing the business-to-business taxes, federal conformity to align Minnesota’s tax code with the federal tax code to restore tax breaks for Minnesota families, and funding for the 5% campaign that gives a long overdue funding increase to home care workers that care for our most vulnerable citizens. I also hope to see action on the veteran’s hiring tax credit bill I introduced last session to help put Minnesota veterans back to work.
If you have ideas on how we can give the surplus back to you, the taxpayers, please reply to this email, visit the Minnesota House GOP Facebook page, or use the hashtag #GiveItBack on Twitter.
Constituents Visit the State Capitol
Fellow District 57 Representative Tara Mack and I were proud to welcome Apple Valley NextLeaders to the Capitol on Thursday for a tour and viewing of Thursday’s House floor session. The NextLeaders are a group of young professionals within the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce who are the next generation of business leaders in our community. We enjoyed good wings and conversation afterward at Buffalo Wild Wings, and discussed the legislative process and a few of the issues under consideration by the legislature this session. To learn more about NextLeaders or to get involved, visit: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/NEXT-Leaders-Apple-Valley-4453227/about
District 57 Senator Greg Clausen and I also welcomed students and parents from Greenleaf Elementary School in Apple Valley to our Capitol today. It’s always one of the highlights of my week to welcome students from our community to our beautiful Capitol in St. Paul. Senator Clausen and I had the opportunity to answer the students' questions about our jobs as legislators and we were impressed with their creative and thoughtful questions.