I hope you had a lovely and enjoyable Mother's Day weekend. It was nice to enjoy a weekend of peace -- the calm before the storm of sorts before the last seven days of session here at the legislature.
It's going to be a whirlwind final week. I expect we will have session each day, including Saturday and Sunday as we finish our work on the 2014-2015 biennium budget.
I was hopeful that when session began that we wouldn't wait until the last moment to finish work on the budget. With one party in control of the Governor's office, the House, and the Senate, I thought we had an opportunity to get our work done in a timely, open, and transparent manner.
With just seven days left before the constitutionally-required end of session on May 20th, I'm concerned the public won't have sufficient time to properly review and offer input on the final budget bills. With significant differences in many budget areas between the House and the Senate, it's still not certain what exactly the final budget plan will look like.
As I mentioned in my last update and in the column that appeared in this week's Waseca County News, there's an array of new taxes that could make up the final budget agreement. In addition, last week the Senate added a gas tax increase to their Transportation Finance Bill that caught many of us by surprise given the lack of support from the Governor and by many members in the House.
I will try and keep you updated as best as I can on the status of the final budget bills. In the meantime, if you have input, suggestions, or questions about our work at the legislature as we wind down the 2013 session, I hope you'll contact me at 651-296-5368 or by email at email@example.com
Energy Bill Passes House
On Wednesday, we had a long and spirited debate on the Omnibus Energy Bill, HF956. It included provisions to mandate that 40% of our energy come from renewable sources by 2030 for investor-owned utility companies, and a 4% mandate from solar energy alone, with an eventual goal of 10%.
While I do support renewable energy, I don't think we should be mandating its use, particularly when energy providers are currently generating more energy then there is a demand for. They are actually having to dump energy they are paying retail price for. This mandate will increase the cost of energy for Minnesotans around the state. Mandating a technology that makes energy more expensive and less reliable is the wrong approach at this time. With many other tax and fee increases coming, I couldn't in good conscience support a piece of legislation that would increase our energy costs while wasting precious resources.
Have a great week,
State Representative, District 24A