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

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Capitol Update from Rep. Duane Quam

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hello from the State Capitol,

New Budget Plan from House DFL

This week, the DFL House leadership announced their plans for the 2014-2015 budget, just days after Governor Dayton released his revised plan. Here are some of the details:

  • $2.4 billion in new taxes – not including fees, surcharges, and transfers from other funds
  • A “temporary” tax increase (surcharge) on people making more than $500,000/year (this on top of Gov. Dayton’s 4th tier income tax hike, essentially a 5th tier)
  • Would spend $39.3 billion in from the General Fund, a large increase over current levels
  • $37.8 billion (FY14-15) in spending plus $854.2 million for the school shift plus $626.7 million to fill the budget deficit projected.
  • $800 million for a bonding bill which borrows money for various projects around the state
  • Increases Early Education, K-12 and Higher Education funding by $700 million over February Forecast base and would fully-fund all-day Kindergarten for schools that don’t have it.

Over the next few weeks, House committees will dig deep into the proposed budgets for each area of spending and take input from stakeholders involved. We can balance our budget without raising taxes by staying within those limits of available revenue. Democrats want Minnesota to be No. 1 in taxes. Republicans want our state to be No. 1 in jobs.

Like our families, neighbors, farmers, and businesses do, state government should live within its means and spend what we can reasonably collect without implementing large tax increases.

Social Media Bill Moves Ahead

My bipartisan bill (HF 653) to adjust the state’s open meeting laws to accommodate social media communications was passed by the House Government Operations Committee and now moves on to the House floor. Together we have proposed changes that allow local governments to communicate and interact online using 21st century technology without fear of violating open meeting laws. I am hopeful we will be able to pass the bill off the House floor in the coming weeks.

Childcare Unionization Push Hits Opposition

The bill to unionize owners of in-home day care businesses and personal care attendants continues advancing through the House despite strong objections from legislators and providers themselves. We tried to prevent them from taking dues from the payments meant for the parents and the disabled. There is concern that imposing union dues will cause providers to stop accepting CCAP, leading to a shortage of providers for low-income families. The Democrat majorities have put union interests ahead of the wishes of citizens. A recent survey shows more than 86 percent of the providers themselves oppose forming a union.


Duane Quam