The halls of the Capitol are buzzing with activity and members are back in St. Paul, ready to tackle the important issues facing Minnesota. A bright spot is that when the session adjourns in May the cold and snow should be behind us and summer days ahead.
You'll be glad to hear we're already off to a productive start: on Tuesday, the House unanimously passed $20 million in additional funding for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program is designed to help Minnesota families who need it most with heating assistance during cold winter months, and has been under increased demand due to changes made to the program in the response to a propane crisis that caused a massive price increase, as well as the unusually cold winter we've been experiencing. I know this will help families in our area.
The Senate passed a similar version that the House passed again unanimously yesterday, and is expected be signed by Governor Dayton in short order.
Long Term Care
I am co-authoring a bill sponsored by Rep. Jerry Newton that will increase long-term care funding by 5%. In its current form, this bill will be a step forward to get some assistance to facilities that take care of our elderly. This bill has tremendous support from both sides.
On Thursday, the House Tax Committee passed a tax bill that repeals the business-to-business taxes from last session and addresses a number of federal conformity tax issues that have caused increased taxes on Minnesota families.
Due to discrepancies between the state and federal tax codes, Minnesotans have had to pay taxes on things like employer-provided tuition and adoption assistance that would otherwise be tax exempt if Minnesota had conformed to the federal code.
The bill heads to the House Ways and Means Committee, and I would expect it to come to the floor sometime in March. Repealing the taxes passed by the majority last session and conforming to the federal tax code are among my top priorities this session to ease the tax burden on Minnesota families and make sure people have time to adjust or amend their tax returns as needed once federal conformity is passed.
If you are planning a personal trip to St. Paul or the Capitol, or are coming with a group, I hope you will contact my office to set up a meeting. My door is always open, and I encourage you to call 651-296-4247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.
I'm committed to working hard for the citizens of Todd and Morrison County this session, and am grateful for the trust you've placed in me to stand up for you in St. Paul.
Have a good weekend, and stay warm,