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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Chris Swedzinski

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hello from the Capitol,

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

Senator Dahms and I will be co-hosting several upcoming Town Hall Meetings around our district on Tuesday, March 26. Here is some more information:

  • Granite Falls ~ 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. in the Law Enforcement Center Conference Room, 415 – 9th Ave
  • Dawson ~ 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 675 Chestnut Street
  • Madison ~ 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the City Hall Auditorium, 404 – 6th Ave
  • Canby ~ 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 110 Oscar Ave North
  • Marshall ~ 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the YMCA, 200 South A Street

For more information, please contact Senator Dahms' Assistant, Wendy Haavisto, at 651.296.8138.

Dayton Drops Some Tax Ideas, Increases Others

On Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton introduced his supplemental budget plan, a “Plan B” from his original plan in January which would have raised taxes on all Minnesotans to pay for record-breaking government spending. The Governor dropped his business-to-business sales tax proposal citing its negative impact on jobs and the economy. The new plan would have state government spending exactly the same (a $2.7 billion increase over what we spend now), but would be paid for by different taxes on small businesses (individual income tax increase), cigarettes, transit taxes, and on snowbirds. The governor still would not pay back delayed school funding and withdraws his initial budget’s proposal of repaying it in 2016-17.

While I applaud the Governor for revising his previous tax plan due to overwhelming public dissatisfaction, the idea of taxing businesses and individuals more to grow government does not sit well with me. Dayton also increases taxes on corporations by nearly $400 million, but these taxes will just result in lower wages, fewer jobs, and higher prices on goods and services. The Governor and my DFL colleagues in the House have said it’s wrong to only spend what we take in, but we ought to look for ways to make government more efficient and to live within our means, like average Minnesotans do.

Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange

As a member of the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, I’ve been following the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange bill very closely this session. Last night, the House passed the final conference committee report for the Exchange, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.

Since I last sent an update on the Exchange, key pro-life provisions that would prevent taxpayer-funded abortions have been removed by the DFL. This made the bill even harder for me to support.

Higher Energy Bill Could Be Coming Your Way

While the budget is my main focus at the Capitol, there have also been several proposals that could drastically increase energy rates on our families, businesses and farmers. One bill would increase the state’s renewable energy mandate to require 40% of all our electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, and another would require us to utilize solar panels. While this may sound like a good idea on the surface, it’s important to note that forcing utility companies to invest in expensive and untested technologies could skyrocket the price we pay for energy.

Additionally, these bills will devastate rural electric co-ops because they don’t have the customer density needed to withstand the financial hit. A study released in April 2011 showed that the current renewable energy mandate will force Minnesotans to pay an additional $15.04 billion for electric power between 2016 and 2025. Conservative indications on the solar mandate alone will cost Minnesotans just under $26 billion just for the cost of solar panels and installation - or around $20,000 to a family of four. In other words, get ready to spend more for your energy.

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or concerns you may have. I can be reached at 651-296-5374 or by e-mail at


Rep. Chris Swedzinski