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

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News from Rep. Quam (02-23-18)

Friday, February 23, 2018


The 2018 Session kicked off on Tuesday. It will be a rather short but busy one as we must adjourn by May 21st. We got right to work this week by restoring the funding, to allow the legislature to operate and be the voice for Minnesota's citizens in Saint Paul. There are a number of key issues needing attention and items that must be accomplished this session. As always, I look forward to hearing from you about what other changes to state law you would like to see. 

Tax Relief & Reform

During the 2017 Legislative Session, we passed the first meaningful tax relief and reform for Minnesotans in nearly two decades. We worked hard to deliver significant tax relief and ultimately passed into law $650 million in tax relief for Minnesota families, farmers, and seniors over the next two years, and $790 million in 2020-2021. Specific relief includes:

  • Nearly 284,000 senior citizen tax returns (single and married filing jointly) will receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those will no longer pay state income tax on their social security benefits.
  • A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 toward their child care expenses.
  • 65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a new tax credit for student loan payments.

Then in late 2017, Congress passed major tax reform at the federal level. Due to these major changes at the federal level, we must make changes at the state level to conform to the federal code. Part of what we must do is to work to make sure Minnesotans do not experience tax increases due to changes required to comply with the federal reform. 

If we do not conform our code to the federal changes, Minnesotans looking to file their taxes next year will face a complicated mess similarly frustrating to the MNLARS situation detailed next.



The Minnesota Department of Public Safety rolled out their new computer system, MNLARS, in 2017. Immediately there were major problems as thousands of Minnesotans couldn't renew tabs and other basic functions of government. 

When the MNLARS system was failing, the Dayton administration insisted for weeks that problems were being overblown and things would be quickly corrected. However, the Department of Public Safety is now asking for an additional $43 million on top of almost $100 million already spent over the past 10 years to begin to fix this problem. Since then, there have been new reports indicating the Dayton Administration knew there were major issues long before launch. 

This is an unrealistic request and Minnesota taxpayers should not be saddled with the bill to purportedly clean up the mess. During this upcoming session, we must determine what the systematic and structural issues are, and how do we fix them, so that the Minnesota state agencies and departments do not repeat this all too familiar poor implementation of the software system. Who is responsible and holding them accountable, is less important than fixing the issues and making government work for its citizens 

If you have had or encounter a problem with the MNLARS system, such as difficulty renewing your vehicle tabs, please use this form to let us know what is going on. We are working with DPS to resolve issues and help fix the system.

Session Preview

During the months since the last session, I have talked, met, and corresponded with many of you. I have worked on several new bills on child care, health care, schools, employment/workforce, etc. I will include information on them in these updates. This is both to inform, but also prompt your input and feedback. 

When I see a child, I see an individual born with gifts and possibilities. Shaped by their experiences and environment. We and government need to understand this and not prejudge, classify, nor expect one solution to fit all.  

One of my new bills, HF 2872, tries to take that to heart. It is an effort to support foster children and families. The current system has some issues and shortcomings that were brought to my attention by some of your neighbors. 

Please continue to stay in touch to share your thoughts and ideas on issues important to you. You can schedule a time to meet with me in my office anytime by calling (651) 296-9236, or share your thoughts via email by emailing me at

Thank you and have a great weekend,