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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Peggy Scott (R)

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Legislative Update (May 18, 2013)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear neighbor,


On Thursday night, DFL legislative leaders and Governor Dayton announced a deal on imposing higher taxes on hard-working Minnesotans. The deal creates a new fourth tier income tax – a 25% increase on the top tax bracket, increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.60, increases business taxes by “closing corporate loopholes”, and hikes taxes on non-consumer purchases. This proposal would make Minnesota an outlier in the country as having the fourth highest tax rate in the nation. I don’t think we need to raise $2 billion in taxes to solve an ever-shrinking $627 million deficit. The hard-working taxpayers of Minnesota pay enough in taxes and we don’t need to be extracting more from them to grow government.


Yesterday, the House debated an $800 million bonding bill. Bonding bills are generally reserved for even-numbered years since the budget must be the focus during odd-numbered years. Most bills require a simple majority – 68 votes in the House – to pass. For bonding bills where we are borrowing money, that threshold is 60%. Given the fact we have yet to vote on a finalized budget agreement, I don’t think we should be talking about borrowing money from taxpayers. It appears that the priority of DFL-controlled legislature is to borrow before budgeting. The bonding bill failed to get the necessary 60% of the votes in the House to pass. We can take that up in the 2014 legislative session.


The House also debated the Higher Education conference committee bill. This legislation offers little substantial reform or accountability measures for public universities and colleges and increases funding by $250 million over base. I’m also concerned that it contains provision that would allow illegal immigrants to compete for the scholarships and grant programs as law-abiding applicants. We need to do more to hold our public universities and college administrations to account for their costs. Unfortunately, this bill does little to address that.


As you know from the e-mail I sent you Thursday, the House is scheduled to debate the childcare unionization bill today. If this issue is important to you, I hope you can come to the Capitol today to let your voice be heard. Meanwhile, we have yet to vote on a complete budget agreement. It seems to me that the DFL legislators and Governor Dayton are enjoying their political desserts first before doing their actual jobs of passing a budget.


With the adjournment deadline set for Monday before midnight, I anticipate I’ll be busy at the Capitol all weekend. We’ll see if the DFL legislative leadership is able to finish on time.


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.