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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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This week's House roundup

Friday, March 2, 2018

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It was great having a couple of firefighters from District 16A stop by my office in St. Paul this week. We can't thank you and all of our other firefighters enough for the great work you do.

Dear Neighbor,

We’re wrapping up a big week at the Capitol, where we learned the state has just experienced the largest three-month growth in two decades.

Minnesota Management and Budget on Wednesday issued the state’s February economic forecast and it indicates a $329 million revenue surplus for the biennium ending in June of 2019. That reflects a $517 million improvement on the bottom line since the November forecast – which stands as the largest three month gain in 20 years. What’s more, some contend the forecast actually is on the conservative side and that by the time we reach the end of this biennium our bottom line very well could end up even rosier than the forecast projects.

In any case, what this growth tells you is that jobs are being created, businesses are doing well and taxpayers are actually making money. That’s our goal, to have economic vitality within our state. We want to see businesses booming, jobs being created and the economy improve.

With the historic tax relief we passed last year, there were a lot of naysayers who talked about how our tax bill was going to bankrupt the state and that’s just simply not the case. What the tax relief we provided really does is unlock the economic viability and creative entrepreneurship that Minnesota is known for by keeping dollars in people’s pockets.

Some great hearings have taken place in the House’s committee on the environment. One discussion centered a bill I authored last year providing $30,000 to study the construction of a trap-shooting range. The goal is for it to be a statewide asset that would help provide for the growing popularity of trap leagues and really allow the state of Minnesota to host international competitions that other places such as Michigan are currently welcoming. Minnesota really has seen a renewed popularity among trap leagues and we want to take a look at being on the international forefront with a cutting-edge facility.

The money from my bill was used to look around the state and isolate what locations would be favorable for a site like this. We’re talking hundreds of acres that could to be devoted to the game of shooting sports, which is gaining in popularity for its potential as a great asset people can carry throughout their life. It can provide team-building experiences for people that maybe can’t run a football, but know how to shoot trap. It gives kids an opportunity to participate alongside adults, gaining confidence, wisdom and lessons in life.

That committee also discussed a bill regarding the importation of minnows. That’s a bill I carried in the past, but handed off to another member this year. A study on minnow importation was conducted and I’m a little concerned about some of the things we heard in the report. This study was conducted by state agency folks and I believe it was a bit skewed. Minnesota has some great fisheries and we want to protect them, but it also is exceptionally important to have access to the bait that allows people to catch fish. We need to find a way to get the bait – particularly fathead minnows – in the state of Minnesota.

Look for more on these subjects as things shake out in St. Paul and, as always, your input is welcome.

Until next time,