It has been another full week at the Capitol with today being the first committee deadline. As your legislator, I like to keep you updated on what is happening in St. Paul. Here are a few things from this week.
Now that the legislature is in the heart of session, we are getting a clearer picture of what issues and initiatives will be moving forward this year. As your state representative, I do my best to represent your interests at the Capitol and vote on issues important to you.
I have compiled a survey, and if you have a few minutes I would appreciate hearing from you. You can fill out the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BrianJohnson2014
Your input is valuable to me and helps me better represent you in St. Paul.
Surplus and Taxes
A historic $2.1 billion tax increase last year hit everyone from small businesses to middle class families. As a result, the state collected an excess from taxpayers and has a $1.2 billion surplus for fiscal years 2014-15. The Minnesota Legislature is required to designate these funds, and I believe that we should send this money back to you—the taxpayer.
Two weeks ago, the House passed a tax bill giving some of that money back to taxpayers through federal conformity and the repeal of three business-to-business taxes passed in 2013. While this is a good start, the bill does not do enough. It doesn’t help joint married filers or families with children in daycare. It also keeps around half of the surplus in St. Paul to be spent on wasteful government projects.
The Senate, which has been ignoring the urgency of an April 15th deadline, finally took up a similar tax bill today. The urgency to get this bill to Governor Dayton’s desk is high so that people can get a full refund without having to file an amended return.
It is an additional concern that with the surplus, the DFL House has released an amended budget that spends $510 million on new government programs. Last year the legislature increased government spending by a whopping $6,000 for every family of four in Minnesota, and we cannot afford to grow government even more.
Taxpayers do a better job spending their own money than state government. The legislature should return this money to Minnesota’s hardworking taxpayers.
I will continue to work on your behalf at the Capitol. Thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.