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ST. PAUL – Eden Prairie state Reps. Jenifer Loon and Kirk Stensrud have been appointed to joint conference committees which serve as the last stops for bills headed to the governor.
The conference committee assignments have Loon (taxes) and Stensrud (state government finance) working to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of their respective omnibus bills. Both Republicans will work alongside four fellow House members and a handful of Senate counterparts.
Loon said she is pleased to be playing a hands-on role in making good on the House majority’s mission: Deliver the governor a balanced budget which steers clear of tax increases.
“The voters of Eden Prairie spoke with a loud voice last November – they want government to live within its means, just like Minnesota families do every day,” Loon said. “Our tax bill reflects that priority, while encouraging private-sector job creation for the long-term health of our economy, and providing tax relief for hard working Minnesota families by reducing the lowest and middle income-tax bracket rates.”
Several initiatives Loon has authored or coauthored were incorporated into the tax bills, including income-tax reductions, an up-front sales-tax exemption for business equipment purchases, business property-tax relief, and tax credits for K-12 school tuition costs.
One provision Loon authored and strongly supports would extend for one year the Tax Increment Financing authority granted in last year’s jobs bill. This tax tool, which allows local governments to partner with the private sector for business development projects that create jobs, is scheduled to sunset on June 30.
“The economic recovery has been slower than we had hoped,” Loon said. “This TIF authority has helped communities bridge the gap and allowed projects that create needed jobs to move forward. These are jobs that would have been shelved, or gone elsewhere. Several projects are poised to get off the ground but need an extension in order to be finalized, so I will be at the table making sure that is included in the bill’s final language.”
Stensrud earlier was successful in offering two amendments to the state government finance bill. One component saves up to $20 million from our state health insurance plan by simply requiring an audit of the eligible dependents. The other measure streamlines government by reducing the number of agency assistant commissioners and deputies.
“I came to the Capitol with the goal of helping get a grip on state spending and this conference committee appointment gives me a chance to help make that happen,” Stensrud said. “There will be some difficult choices to make along the way, but there also is room for significant improvement in how our state functions. That’s what the folks in our district sent me here to do.”
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