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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Green (R)

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Legislative Update (March 21, 2014)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear neighbor,

Today the House passed legislation that brings Minnesota’s tax code in alignment with some provisions of the federal tax code in tax year 2013, with the other major provisions starting in 2014. This bill also repeals the sales tax on commercial/industrial repair, warehousing and telecommunications machinery and equipment starting April 1, 2014.

The bill is a good start, but falls woefully short considering there is a $1.2 billion surplus. Notably absent items:

  • Increased Standard Deduction for married joint filers which would have saved 640,000 married couples an average of $112 per return for tax year 2013.
  • Retroactive repeal of business-to-business sales tax that went into effect in 2013 which would have returned $55.9 million to hardworking Minnesota taxpayers.

These are not tax cuts we passed today - the net result of the adjustments in this bill is still a $1.7 billion tax increase for the biennium. I was disappointed to learn that the reason action on this legislation took so long was over an internal dispute among DFL legislative leaders regarding a wasteful, lavish, $90 million office complex for state senators. Your family budget is more important than a new building for politicians.

COMMITTEE WORK

Bills are moving fast in St. Paul this week with committee deadlines approaching.

The Legacy Committee passed through a land acquisition bill. I was successful placing an amendment on the bill that would limit the state to paying no more than market value for property. This would allow for a greater chance that the land remains in private ownership. Although the language was watered down a bit, that provision remains in the bill. I view this as a start to cleaning up the procedure that is damaging our property tax base. 

I also had a bill to prevent legacy dollars from being awarded to any entity who misappropriated funds in the past. It passed last session, but was removed in conference committee. I resubmitted it this year and could not get a hearing.

Furthermore, I’ve been working on land mitigation issues in Northern Minnesota. I believe we have some good target goals and will be working the rest of session and over the summer with Minnesota stakeholders. With public support I believe we can allow existing wetland enhancement and reclamation of existing sites to reduce the amount of new property purchases. Unfortunately, there has not been time during this short session to get all parties to the table.

It is a bonding year and there will be a bonding bill this session. My goal is to keep the debt manageable. We have been working out details of the bill. As of now there is not much consensus. As we move closer to a finale bill, I will update you.

With the legislature now in session, I can be reached via email at rep.steve.green@house.mn. 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.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Steve

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