Minnesota House of Representatives

Menu

State Representative Peter Fischer

201 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-5363

For more information contact: Matt Roznowski 651-296-8875

Posted: Jun 18 2014 4:39PM
Share on: 



GUEST COLUMN

2013-2014 Wrap Up: Legislature Put Middle-Class Families First


When my first term began in January 2013, Minnesota faced big challenges.

The legislature inherited a $627 million budget deficit and nearly $1 billion in debt to our K-12 schools. College tuition increased for the 13th straight year. Over 440,000 Minnesotans had no health care. Insurance companies denied coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and charged women higher premiums than men. Plus, the gender pay gap robbed women and their families of thousands of dollars every year.  

The facts show that Minnesota is much, much stronger today than when the 2013-2014 legislative session began. We recovered all the jobs lost during the Great Recession and have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

I proudly helped move Minnesota forward in a new direction by putting middle-class families first.

By passing the first structurally balanced budget in over a decade, the legislature eliminated the deficit, paid back every cent borrowed from our K-12 schools and made new investments in education, job creation and property tax relief to help middle-class families thrive.

We did raise some taxes, but largely by closing corporate loopholes and asking the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans to pay just 2% more in income taxes, allowing us to pay for:

  • More funding for every student and school, plus free all-day Kindergarten for every child beginning this fall (saving moms and dads with Kindergarteners enrolled at White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi Public Schools roughly $3,000 dollars per year).
     
  • Preschool scholarships for over 8,000 children from low-income families.
     
  • Two-year college tuition freeze and more financial aid.
     
  • Bigger property tax refunds for homeowners and renters.
     
  • Better job training programs and incentives for business expansions.
     
  • Upfront sales tax exemption for businesses on capital equipment purchases and a sales tax exemption for cities and counties – two bills I had the honor of authoring.

We also cut unemployment insurance taxes for businesses by over $346 million, the largest business tax cut in state history.

Thanks to a stronger economy and smart fiscal management at our state capitol, the legislature turned the deficit into a $1.2 billion surplus and invested those funds in middle-class families by cutting taxes for over two million Minnesotans, expanding the school lunch program and boosting funding for both our nursing homes and long-term caregivers.

I’m also proud of our focus on improving economic security for women and their families. We passed legislation to help close the gender pay gap, expand unpaid family leave for moms and dads from 6 weeks to 12 weeks and strengthen workplace protections for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Thanks to our decision to create MNsure, our online health insurance marketplace that offers the lowest premium rates in nation, we now have the highest rate of insured residents in state history (95%) and the second best rate nationally. And insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charge women higher premiums than men.

Locally, I kept a major focus on restoring White Bear Lake and preventing water shortages in our region. In addition to holding regular community meetings, I collaborated with the private sector and all levels of government to begin forging a comprehensive water sustainability strategy. Working with our strong partner Senator Chuck Wiger, we secured funding to proceed with major studies and research needed to find a solution.

There is much more work to do to keep moving Minnesota forward, but I’m confident that as long as we continue putting middle-class families first, we can make Minnesota an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

News Items

Audio & Video

Galleries

Minnesota House of Representatives  ·   100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN   55155   ·   Webmaster@house.mn