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

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News From Rep. Quam (1-30-15)

Friday, January 30, 2015
Hello from the State Capitol,
It has been a busy week in St. Paul with many issues important to Minnesota being introduced and discussed.
Governor’s Budget Unveiled
On Tuesday, Governor Dayton unveiled his budget recommendations for the coming biennium. In total, it includes a $6.839 billion dollar increase in all-funds spending over the current biennium and a more than $903 million dollar increase in taxes. In general fund dollars, his budget includes a $3 billion dollar increase in spending. While the Governor’s budget has some recommendations that I believe we can find common ground on, it ultimately increases government, and it's burden on Minnesota citizens.
Included in the Governor’s budget is nearly $12 million dollars to continue to fund our state’s failed and broken MNSure program, $11.3 million for the Senate to fund rental payments for the new Senate Legislative Office Building, and $10 million for two state planes for the Governor and his commissioners. Governor Dayton is also proposing a 6.5% increase on the state’s gas tax, ignoring and not addressing the issues with the how and why we spend transportation dollars. Now is not the time to increase the burden on Minnesota families at the pump, especially given that we are starting to see some relief in gas prices.
Also noticeably absent from the Governor’s proposal is any new funding for nursing homes. We have heard from countless nursing home administrators of the struggle they have in hiring and retaining the best staff to care for our elderly. It is disappointing that Governor Dayton chose not to prioritize our seniors.
Bill Introductions
Below is a summary of some of the more recent bills that I am either chief or co-authoring:
HF 361- establishes a demonstration project to provide a bridge to freedom and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities
HF 388- would require businesses that receive state grants to use the federal E-Verify program when hiring employees
HF 286- would allocate funds to reconstruct portions of Highway 14 from I-35 in Owatonna to near Dodge City where Highway 14 intersects with Highway 56
Property Tax Listening Session
Last Thursday, Rep. Nels Pierson of Rochester and myself hosted a property tax listening session in Stewartville. This included a meeting of the House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division, with Chair Steve Drazkowski, six committee members, my self included, in attendance.
A number of concerned citizens, business owners, and farmers expressed their concerns about rising property taxes. There was a common theme from those that attended – property taxes are rising and we need to find solutions to help ease the burden on property owners.
Local media members were in attendance. The Post-Bulletin published an editorial about the event and KTTC had a segment on the event in their evening news coverage.
Keeping in Touch
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