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

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Capitol Update from Rep. Duane Quam

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hello from the State Capitol,

Bills are starting to be heard and move through committee.


A bill was discussed in the Government Operations Committee relating to water drainage systems. It will have major impact on Minnesota farmers and rural residents. As such, I made a motion to refer the bill to the Agriculture Policy committee for further examination and testimony on its impacts. The majority members on the committee voted “No,” and it will go to the floor instead of being heard in the Ag Committee. Again, the DFL majority is not providing agriculture its due respect or an appropriate level of importance.


Governor Dayton proposed his two-year budget plan on Tuesday for 2014-2015 and it includes numerous changes to Minnesota’s tax code which, in my opinion, will harm the middle class. Dayton is asking for a new income tax bracket on individuals with incomes above $150,000 a year or $250,000 per couple, raising the rate to 9.85%. Despite all the talk of taxing "millionaires and billionaires," Dayton’s new income tax is 25% higher than the current rate and will impact thousands of Minnesota families, farms, and small businesses that file individual returns.

The budget proposal issued by Gov. Mark Dayton this week includes two things Minnesota does not need right now: $3.7 billion more in taxes and $2.7 billion more in state spending.

It would also feature a new and expanded sales tax on:

· Aspirin, cold medicine, and any other over-the-counter drugs

· Auto repairs

· Hair cuts

· Legal and accounting services

· Clothing valued over $100 (like a winter coat)

· Business-to-business sales

· Digital downloads like iTunes, Apps

· Amazon online purchases or others like Amazon

The average income for families in our area is not growing at the 8% that state government would, under the Dayton biennium budget plan. I believe the cumulative impact of the governor's tax increases will drive our job creators, and higher income taxpayers, to relocate in neighboring states like Wisconsin and North Dakota which have more competitive business climates. Thus, the plan to increase revenue will actually cause less than a more competitive, pro-jobs approach and return us to multi-billion dollar deficits we have seen in the past.

The governor’s plan also would put off repaying the school shift money until 2017. While the 2011 budget deal included a 10 % increase, it actually has repaid 14 %, and thus placed us in the position of being able to completely repay all of the shift that been around, at various levels, for many, many years. This should be a top priority and it disappoints me that our governor would even suggest waiting that long to pay back what is owed to our children.

I look forward to a thoughtful and productive discussion about how we can protect the middle class from further tax increases while providing good services to the people of our state. A tax-more, spend-more budget is not the solution.

State Healthcare Exchange

As part of the Affordable Care Act, Minnesota’s DFL leaders have selected to set up a powerful and expensive state health insurance exchange in Minnesota. Next Tuesday, I will hear HF 5 in the Government Operations Committee. I will speak out against and oppose this for several reasons.

The exchange is dangerous to middle class Minnesotans and small businesses. It would create a seven-member ‘super agency’ without proper oversight, transparency, and accountability. It would be positioned to control the entire health insurance market in Minnesota, and thus, our health care providers. This group would be setup and appointed by one political party, accountable to no one, have access to spend taxpayer dollars without discretion, picks winners and losers as to who can sell insurance, and impose and collect up to 3.5% tax on plan premiums just to fund its activities. The DFL’s Health Exchange is not a basic exchange—it goes far beyond Obamacare mandates and threatens your freedom and choice of health care.

Meeting with Constituents

This week I had the pleasure of meeting with Erin Meier (Kasson) and Kathleen Lovett (Oronoco) from the U of M extension to hear their thoughts on Ag in the classroom, 4H, FFA, and other issues important to so many of us. If you are planning on visiting or would like to set up time to meet with me about an issue of importance to you, please contact me using the information below.

To stay informed on my work at the Capitol, please encourage others to sign up for my email updates.


Duane Quam