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Legislative Update (April 26, 2013)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dear neighbor,


This week the House took up several omnibus bills including the tax bill, the Health and Human Services bill, and the K-12 education bill.


On Monday, the House took up the Health and Human Services omnibus bill. Instead of prioritizing our most vulnerable citizens in senior living and nursing homes – which got a $26 million baseline cut – House Democrats put $11.212 billion into more bureaucracy, duplicative programs, and wasteful studies. The only good part about the bill was three pro-life amendments that passed with bipartisan support. I hope they remain as part of the bill after it comes back from conference committee.


On Tuesday, the K-12 education bill came to the House floor. Making sure our students receive a world-class education continues to be a priority of mine. Unfortunately, this bill prioritizes funding more bureaucracy, offices, and centers than putting dollars in the classroom on student learning. Furthermore, the Anoka-Hennepin School District fares poorly under this K-12 bill. Anoka-Hennepin educates 4.625% of the state’s children, yet receives less than 1% of the state’s education revenue. The school district needs $36 million, but only receives $17.4 million. I voted no on passage of this bill. In addition, the bill contained language to stop the requirement that all students pass the reading, writing and math GRAD tests. This is a step in the wrong direction and "dumbs down" the MN High School diploma.


On Wednesday, the House debated the Democrats’ tax bill. This bill seeks to impose $2.6 billion in new taxes – making Minnesota the second highest taxed state in the nation. One of the arguments that proponents of the tax bill used was that it would only raise taxes on the wealthy. We soon discovered that is absolutely false. Taxes will go up for 60% of single filers making between $21,650 and $73,500 and go up for 83% of joint filers making between $31,650 and $130,000. The bill also includes higher taxes on tobacco products, alcohol, and sports memorabilia. On top of all that, House Democrats eliminated the charitable deduction. Does it seem wise to you to discourage Minnesotans from donating to charity? It shouldn’t surprise you that I voted no on passage of this bill that imposes a $550 tax on every man, woman, and child in the State of Minnesota.


We’re scheduled to be back in session on Monday. I’m hoping to enjoy the warm weather with some family and friends. I hope you’re able to do the same. Have a great weekend!


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.