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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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Thursday, March 12, 2009
By State Rep. Bud Nornes The results of a recent legislative survey I conducted in District 10A have been tabulated. Here’s a summary: NUCLEAR POWER An initiative is underway to repeal the ban on new nuclear power plants in Minnesota and 71 percent of respondents said they favor lifting the moratorium. The state implemented a moratorium on new nuclear facilities in 1994, and Minnesota remains the only state with such a ban. Nuclear power may not answer all of our energy needs and concerns, but it could provide more reliable and low-cost electricity with long-term price stability and clean-air benefits. Expect lifting the ban to make more headlines as we look for ways to combat energy cost increases driven by foreign oil. ECONOMY Our economic future is murky and the survey indicates we have not reached a consensus as to the best thing government can do to improve our economy. Four choices were provided in the survey and three of them finished in a virtual tie for first place: Reduce taxes to encourage businesses to create new jobs; reduce income taxes so individuals and families can keep more of their money to help afford rising costs for basic needs; and increase spending for K-12 and higher education. SALES TAX Under a bill recently introduced in the Legislature, the state sales tax would be lowered but broadened to include clothing and legal/accounting services. Survey respondents overwhelmingly object to this idea, with 85 percent indicating they do not support this plan. STATEWIDE WAGE FREEZE Legislation to freeze pay through 2011 for state employees has been drafted and 53 percent of survey respondents support this plan. The wage freeze includes state and local workers as well as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities workers and school district employees. The freeze reportedly would save the state $1 billion in salaries, mitigating layoffs. HEALTH INSURANCE Efforts are increasing to overhaul the way health insurance is provided in Minnesota. Our state currently restricts the purchase of health insurance to Minnesota insurance providers only. A total of 74 percent of the survey respondents expressed they favor repealing restrictions, allowing citizens to access health insurance offered by companies located in other states. --30-- Nornes represents District 10A in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and can be reached at (800) 336-8017 or by e-mail at
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