It’s been a busy week at the legislature. Because it is relatively early in the legislative session, much of the work is being done in committees before any bills are brought to the floor of the House.
One major concern I have at the moment is the issue of state employee contracts. On Thursday, a House committee approved five public employee union contracts with generous benefits for coverage of employee health premiums and dependent coverage. Right now, these contracts are estimated to cost taxpayers around $250 million. I was taken aback when the DFL chair of the House committee overseeing the contracts stated in committee that it wasn’t the time to debate the cost of the contracts and that the committee’s purpose was to “rubber stamp” the contracts. To use the words of one of my Republican colleagues on that committee, I didn’t run for the legislature to be a rubber stamp. We always must remember that the money we spend at the legislature comes from you – the taxpayer.
Next week, the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee will be holding hearings on gun control measures. As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I will fight against restrictions on gun ownership. If this issue is important to you, I encourage you to come to the legislature to share your concerns. The schedule for the committee hearings can be viewed here.
In my last update, I outlined my concerns with Governor Dayton’s budget. However, much has been made about the governor’s $500 property tax rebate proposal. I would caution you not to be misled by what this would do for you as a homeowner. With Governor Dayton’s proposal to impose a tax on business-to-business services, local governments will have to pay taxes on contracted services and will be mandated to spend more money. For instance, now that local governments will have to pay taxes on road plows, the cost of doing business with local road plow companies will increase. The cost of that is likely to be passed on by the local governments to property taxpayers. This will slow down the local economy, bring in less revenue, and hurt job providers in rural Minnesota. Essentially, the governor’s plan tries to put money in your pocket with one hand, but take it out with another. Rural Minnesota cannot afford this kind of tax plan. I will continue to monitor the governor’s budget proposal as it moves through the legislature and will keep you updated.
As always, I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-9918. Mail can be sent to Rep. Steve Green, 231 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155. Please feel free to share this update with friends and family and encourage them to sign up for my email updates by clicking here and putting in your contact information.
Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.