It’s been a busy week here at the legislature. Generally, I leave St. Paul on Thursdays nights to make it back to the district. However, this week I’m still in St. Paul for floor sessions. We’re even scheduled to be in session on Saturday.
Last Monday, the House DFL leadership released their tax proposal that includes $2.6 billion in new tax increases. In addition to the new income tax increases, the bill imposes higher taxes on alcohol products, tobacco products, and sports memorabilia. If passed, this plan would make Minnesota the second highest taxed state in the nation. With an economy slowly improving and jobs on the rise, I’m very hesitant to support any new tax increases. Hardworking taxpayers pay enough to the government.
Yesterday, the House debated the environment and agriculture omnibus bill. I had serious concerns about this bill when it made it to the House floor. It raises dozens of new fees and taxes that would cost hardworking taxpayers and businesses at least $14 million. In particular, it dramatically raises water permit fees that will force cities, businesses, farmers, and agricultural processors to pass the cost down to the end user. The author of the bill – a DFL legislator from Minneapolis – stated that she wanted to increase fees to expand groundwater testing across the entire state. This is problematic because we already have watershed districts that perform groundwater monitoring. The legislature appropriated $7 million last year to pay for water testing and state agencies still haven’t utilized it all. It will take 90 years to dig all of these wells and complete testing. Unfortunately, the bill passed on a party-line vote.
I’m happy to report, however, that the wolf hunt moratorium is not part of this legislation. A DFL legislator from the metro area had planned to put the moratorium on as an amendment to the environment and agriculture omnibus bill, but withdrew the amendment on the floor. I’ll continue to keep you updated if this proposal comes up again.
On Monday, the House is scheduled to debate the health and human services omnibus bill. I don’t like that this bill cuts nursing homes and senior living by $5 million. While we certainly have to find spending reductions, funding nursing homes and senior care centers is a priority for me. This proposal prioritizes Minneapolis and St. Paul over Greater Minnesota with the result being that nursing homes in rural areas not being able to keep their doors open with these cuts.
If you have not received a legislative survey from me, you can do so by going to my House web page, click the link under “Feedback Wanted” on the right side of the page.
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.
Have a great weekend!