Congratulations to Laurel Nelson of Nelson Auto Center in Fergus Falls for being named one of 25 top women in business in the North Dakota, South Dakota and western Minnesota region. Laurel and her husband, Brent, run a good operation and it was nice to see her receive this honor.
The big news from the Capitol this week is the House majority put forward a 10-year, $7 billion transportation package that focuses on improving our roads and bridges. Unlike the governor's transportation plan, which relies on a 6.5-percent tax on gasoline at the wholesale level (approximately 16 cents per gallon at today's prices), the House plan has zero tax increases.
There are a variety of components the House proposes to show how we can meet needs pertaining to roads and bridges without tax increases. One key part captures tax revenue already being paid on purchases of auto parts and dedicates that money to a new Transportation Stability Fund. This would add up to nearly $250 million per year for roads and bridges – and even more in the future.
Other parts of this proposal – named the Road and Bridge Act of 2015 – use $1.3 billion in Trunk Highway bonds, $1.2 billion from realigning Minnesota Department of Transportation resources, $1.05 billion in General Obligation bonds, and $228 million in General Funds.
The House also put out its proposal for a new two-year state budget this week. The key numbers are $39.9 billion in spending with $2 billion in tax relief and $100 million put into reserves. By comparison, Dayton proposes spending $43 billion, does not boost our reserves and raises taxes. We are still waiting to see what the Democrat-led Senate is planning with the budget.
Our state recently received the good news that Minneapolis-St. Paul will host the 2016 Medal of Honor Convention. This event will take place Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, 2016 to coincide with the start of October, which is Veterans' Voices Month in Minnesota.
This will be a great opportunity for Minnesotans to pay tribute to our nation's courageous Medal of Honor recipients. The committee agenda will feature a wide range of events, including school visits, memorial services, meet-and-greets and concerts. The week will conclude with the Patriot Awards Gala black-tie affair. More details are available by emailing the Medal of Honor Twin Cities Executive Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, here is a quick reminder of some upcoming meetings in our district:
Monday, March 30
10 a.m., Perham Living Center in Perham
8 p.m., M State Fergus Falls
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen and I will co-host three town hall meetings of our own. Here is that itinerary:
Tuesday, March 31
8:15 a.m.: Viking Café in Fergus Falls
10 a.m.: Pelican Rapids Library in Pelican Rapids
12:15 p.m.: Shoreline Restaurant & Lanes in Battle Lake