To the editor,
The 2014 legislative session begins Feb. 25 and here is a snapshot of what is in store:
First of all, this is a non-budget year by name since that work takes place in odd-numbered years. We still will be assessing the condition of our state’s bottom line and tweaks could be considered once we receive a full economic forecast in late February.
My top focus remains improving our economy to help kick-start the jobs outlook for hardworking Minnesotans. A good place to start would be to repeal at least three new taxes Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democrats passed in 2013: equipment repair, warehousing and telecommunications.
A repeal of those taxes would fall perfectly under the “Unsession” label Dayton has placed on the 2014 session. The economic report we received late last year indicates the governor and the legislative majority taxed Minnesotans $1.1 billion too much. This money should be returned to hardworking Minnesota taxpayers, not seen as a license for government to spend even more.
I would like to hear your ideas for what else we could repeal during this “Unsession.” What wasteful spending practices can we eliminate? How can we do things more efficiently? This approach borrows from the reform-minded focus we emphasized as a Republican majority in 2011-12.
One of the most-discussed bills on this year’s agenda is likely to be one that would fund construction projects throughout the state, aka a bonding bill. The biggest point of contention with bonding bills generally comes down to the overall price tag and whether frivolous wish-list items are piled on top of necessary infrastructure work. There could be some local projects under consideration and I can pass along more information on them as things develop.
Area citizens I talk with express opposition to several other proposals that are, for now, flying under the radar. People are surprised to learn bills pertaining to increasing the minimum wage, transit taxes and anti-bullying mandates could be on the majority’s agenda this year.
Local shop owners tell me they would be driven out of business if they are forced to pay a higher minimum wage. Officials from this area say they already have tools available to keep bullying at bay in our schools and do not want more statewide regulations placed on them.
Rep. Bud Nornes