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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Duane Quam (R)

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News from Rep. Quam (3-18-16)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hello from the State Capitol,

The 2016 legislative session has finally started, with lawmakers returning to St. Paul last week for the shortest session in recent history due to ongoing renovations at the capitol.
Committees started in high gear, with only a 10 week window to complete our work.

Last Thursday, I had a bill heard by the Tax Committee. It would extend the telecommunication sales tax exemption to machinery and equipment used to provide internet access and other related services like cloud storage and web site building and hosting.

With a lack, or poor quality, of internet access in large portions of rural Minnesota, we need to be looking at ways to provide reliable internet connection to all Minnesotans who so desire.
With broadband expansion being a hot issue, my bill would promote private sector investment into connecting homes and businesses across Minnesota by exempting the sales tax on equipment needed to provide access.

Another item making news at the capitol this week is the release of the governor’s supplemental budget recommendations.

In his supplemental budget, the governor wants to spend $581 million, provide $117 million in tax relief and leave $202 million on the bottom line.

Included in his proposal is a renewed call for a percentage gas tax increase—which would raise the price at the pump a minimum of 16 cent per gallon. (Does he think we will not notice it with the recent gas price increases?) 

Why would Minnesotans need a $900 million per year tax increase with a $900 million budget surplus?

In addition to the massive tax increase, the governor’s supplemental budget includes a number of other spending items including, but not limited to: $500,000 to study the benefits of a single-payer health care system (MNSure is still broken), $25 million for pre-K, and $100 million for economic disparities (he is not specific and what it would be spent on).

The governor's supplemental budget proposal continues to prioritize growing government spending over family budgets. I will continue to stand with middle-class Minnesotans and what they prefer—more money in their pockets and a forward thinking approach to fixing our aging road and bridge infrastructure.

One of the best parts of session are the many people and groups I get to meet with: Farmers with Farm Bureau and MN Dairy Association; Students from KM, JM, and Rochester's Boys and Girls Club; Builders and Realtors; Athletic Trainers; Coop Members; Rochester Chamber Members and Businesspeople; Lifetrack Rochester.

Here are a few photos with some of the groups that visited this week:


That is all for this week’s update. I will continue to send updates on what is happening in St. Paul throughout the session.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have questions, concerns, or comments on any number of issues related to the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9236 or via email at