This week we are expecting Governor Dayton to come out with his revised budget proposal. While I’m happy to hear he plans to drop the business-to-business tax and his expanded sales tax plan, indications are that he still seeks to create a new fourth-tier income tax bracket that would hurt small businesses the hardest. If we want Minnesota to be economically competitive with our neighbors, we should not be adding to the already-heavy tax burden for our businesses.
If the tax proposals weren’t enough, the energy mandates being put forth are also enough to make Minnesota uncompetitive with our neighbors. One bill seeks to have a 40% renewable energy mandate by 2030. It could cause electric bills to jump as much as 70% in some parts of the state. These kinds of energy mandates will make Minnesota an outlier in energy costs and makes us less attractive to businesses.
Instead of working on job creation, the DFL legislative leadership is focused on divisive social issues. On Tuesday, the House Civil Law Committee took up the bill to change the definition of marriage. I recall this past summer and fall we heard that voting NO on the Marriage Amendment meant that nothing would change, the statute would remain the same. I expressed to the committee my displeasure of bringing this issue given how it divides Minnesotans. Ultimately, the committee voted along party lines to re-define marriage. Along with my Republican colleagues, I voted against changing the current definition of marriage. The bill now heads to the House floor where the House DFL leadership will ultimately decide whether to hold a vote on it.
Another item on the DFL’s agenda is the unionization of childcare providers and personal care attendants. House File 950 seeks to provide a process for unionizing family childcare providers who serve families receiving childcare assistance. I oppose this attempt to unionize these independent small business owners (most of whom are women) as it would create fewer choices for low-income parents. Many childcare providers who do not want to be unionized or can’t afford it will be forced to reject children of parents who qualify for state assistance. This will create fewer quality providers who will be able to accept children of low-income working parents. Similarly, House File 844 seeks to unionize personal care attendants. It causes me great concern that vulnerable people like children, the sick, and the elderly are being caught in the middle of the political power grab by union leadership.
I also have been following the “anti-bullying” legislation, House File 826, closely. I firmly believe that there is no place for bullying of any form in our schools. School is a place for children to feel safe and comfortable to learn. My concern is that this bill does more harm than good in addressing the concerns of bullying. For instance, it undermines parental involvement by leaving to the discretion of a school official whether or not to contact the parents of a child that was a victim of bullying or was the target of bullying. Additionally, if your child is referred to a community service such as a psychologist, the parent is not necessarily contacted. It also calls for the Department of Education to become a hub of data collection to keep track of incidences of bullying. I believe the answer to address school bullying is best handled on the local level with parents, school district officials, principals, and teachers. Every bullying situation is unique and should be addressed accordingly and not with a one-size-fits-all approach. There is not enough room here to elaborate on the troubling sections of this bill. I encourage you to read HF 826. It is a case of enlarging government and extreme over-reach.
I am always interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Peggy.Scott@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-4231. You can also send me mail to my office address: 201 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.