The legislative session is down to the final four…the final four weeks before adjournment. Issues I’m eagerly anticipating are the tax bill, additional transportation funding, school safety and the bonding bill.
On the school safety front, I’m happy with where this issue is heading. The initiatives that my colleagues in the House and I are proposing enhance school security, address student mental health, and provide school districts with needed resources and the flexibility to use those resources. Because every school district is different, flexibility is important to allow schools the latitude to bring in counselors or other mental health professionals as they see fit.
In total, our proposal aims to authorize nearly $50 million on critically needed improvements, $25 million of which will come from the budget surplus with another $25 million in bonding dollars for facility security upgrades.
Our children are our most important resource, and it’s our duty to make sure that they receive a world-class education in a safe environment.
There has been movement on federal tax conformity in recent days as both the Governor and House have released plans. What we know is that if we do nothing, there will be havoc next year for millions of tax filers!
Under Governor Dayton’s plan, Minnesotans of all incomes would get a tax increase. That’s according to an analysis by the Department of Revenue. Moreover, households making less than $32,000 would be hit hardest making Minnesota's tax code more regressive. The Governor also repeals tax reductions enacted last session, and makes other changes reacting to tax changes at the federal level.
For myself and my colleagues in the House, the Governor’s plan is a non-starter.
House Tax Bill
The House tax plan looks to simplify the code and lower taxes for as many Minnesotans as possible. Here are some of the topline items from our proposal:
Bills Working Their Way Along
I’ve authored several bills that are working their way through the process – one that would require teacher licensing to cover dyslexia, another requiring more financial transparency of the Met Council, another on the security of Minnesota’s electric grid, and so on. Issues I’m also focusing on are light rail safety and water supply.
Also, as the chair of the House Transportation and Regional Governance Policy Committee, I am anticipating some key votes on Met Council reform. For suburbanites, reining in this unelected appointed body which has the power to tax us and tell us how they want us to live, this reform is a big deal.
Staying in Touch
As the session winds down, the activity level around here will really amp up. I’m never too busy though to take time to meet with constituents who want to see how the process works. Please know you're always welcome to stop in and see what's happening at the Legislature. My office is Room 417 of the State Office Building, and my phone is 651-296-2907.
Have a great day!