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

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Finance bills pass in one big package

Friday, April 04, 2014

To the editor,

 

We spent significant time on the House floor Thursday to discuss a rather large supplemental budget bill, aka the Bailout Bill or the Garbage Bill.

 

In a nutshell, the House majority passed all of its big finance bills in one 436-page bill that spends $1.2 billion through 2017. It included a wide range of unrelated provisions, some good and many more that are questionable. One of my top concerns is this bill uses $442 million to bail out Minnesota’s version of Obamacare.

 

A strong measure that I support in this bill fully funds “The 5-percent Campaign.” This increases funding for the home and community based services and intermediate care facilities for Minnesotans with developmental disabilities. That boost in funding was benefits workers who provide a valuable service in communities throughout our state.

 

Democrats had only accounted for a 4-percent increase in their budget resolution, but Republicans successfully led an initiative to do the full 5 percent. Unfortunately, the majority refused to bring this to the floor earlier this session for a stand-alone vote, delayed and attached it to this omnibus bill.

 

In the end, I’m pleased it passed, but there were so many suspect parts of this bill I could not support it in total. Just last year, they increased state spending by historic levels, including committing taxpayers to a $90 million Senate complex. Now, they came back and wanted to spend even more.

 

Speaking of spending, the House majority revealed its plans for a capital investment bonding bill to fund projects throughout the state. The House version is a two-part combo with $850 million in borrowing and another $125 million from surplus revenue. Funding for the Perham library is included and it appears to have strong support for inclusion in the final bill.

 

On a final note, it is now safe to file your income taxes if you were holding off while the Minnesota Department of Revenue updated our state’s tax code after recent changes were made to state law. The changes will allow some Minnesotans to claim new tax credits on their returns.

 

Revenue will contact you if you already filed but qualify for any updated deductions.

 

Sincerely,

Rep. Bud Nornes

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