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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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News from Representative Gruenhagen 05-09-2014

Friday, May 9, 2014
Dear Friends,
 
The legislature has just ten days left to complete its work for the 2014 session. After May 19th, Minnesota taxpayers will once again be safe from government overreach and out-of-control spending of Democrats who have controlled St. Paul for the past two years. There are still three major bills left to be worked out and voted on in the final ten days:
  • The bonding bill: Even-numbered years at the legislature are usually bonding years, where the state is able to borrow money, much like a credit card, to pay for infrastructure and other construction projects across Minnesota. The bonding bill requires a 60% vote to pass, meaning Democrats need to secure Republican support. Republicans have been pushing for a bonding bill that is geographically balanced, with an appropriate mix of projects in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.
  • Supplemental budget bill: Eager to spend more of the $1.2 billion projected budget surplus, Democrats passed a 400 page supplemental budget bill that will fund various government programs and provide extra funding in other budget areas. The supplemental budget bill spends hundreds of millions of dollars, and is projected to reduce Minnesota's projected budget surplus dramatically in future years. There are good provisions contained in this bill such as the 5% Campaign, but it spends way too much of the surplus that belongs to the taxpayers, and includes what is effectively a bailout for ObamaCare. State programs face a large deficit thanks to lower-than-expected funding from the federal government under ObamaCare. I voted against this bill when it left the House, and anticipate voting against it again when it returns from conference committee
  • Tax cut bill: A second tax cut bill that focuses on property tax relief passed the House last month with overwhelming bipartisan support. I expect there will be bipartisan support again when the bill returns from conference committee.
As always, if you have questions or comments about these or any other pieces of legislation in the final days of session, don't hesitate to contact my office at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4229.
 
Democrats want a pay raise
Last year Democrats approved a Constitutional Amendment. that will be placed on the ballot in 2016 that creates a council to determine legislator pay, known as the Legislative Salary Council. This is in effect a backdoor pay increase. Every state that has established councils similar to the one Democrats want to set up has increased legislator pay. There is just one instance in recent history where legislator pay has been cut, but that was in California during a budget crisis where legislators already make more than $100,000 per year.
 
After increasing taxes by $2.1 billion, increasing spending by the largest amount in state history, approving an $89 million office building for the Senate, and bringing ObamaCare to Minnesota, it's surprising that Democrat legislators think they deserve a pay raise.
 
Minnesota's legislature is part time. We meet for four months out of the year, and nearly all of us have other employment or are retired. Voting for a backdoor legislator pay increase is inappropriate and sends the wrong message at a time when too many Minnesotans are still unemployed or underemployed.
 
Have a great weekend,

Glenn
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