Friends and Neighbors,
The legislature is in recess this week for Easter/Passover break, but here’s a quick update on the big issues being discussed at the Capitol.
River’s Edge Funding
I’ve sponsored legislation (HF 1298) this session to appropriate funding to the City of St. Cloud for the purpose of expanding the River’s Edge Convention Center. As many of you know, completing this project is a top priority for me this year as it is critical to bringing more economic activity, jobs and tax revenue to our area.
You can watch my recent interview with House Information Services where I describe the project along with my first few weeks in office here.
Dayton and DFL Offer Budget Plans
Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) showed Minnesota’s economy improving and budget situation improving in a February report, but Governor Mark Dayton issued a revised tax plan that includes new large tax increases on small business income and the middle-class through transit and tobacco sales tax increases. The original plan, you may recall, included a new business-to-business sales tax, a new sales tax on some clothing items, and a new sales tax on personal services like haircuts, oil changes, and childhood babysitters. Citizens across the state and in our district spoke up about their concern for these new tax increases and the Governor listened, which I appreciate.
However, Dayton’s new plan, along with the House DFL plan (released last week), still asks Minnesotans to pay more to grow the size and scope of state government. In the midst of our economic recovery, new taxes on small businesses are not in order. While the current deficit we must solve is around $600 million, the DFL Budget Resolution raises $2.4 billion in new taxes. This is not a balanced solution. The plan also calls for a fifth income tax tier on the wealthy which would propel Minnesota to the highest one or two tax rates in the nation. In all, some individuals (including farmers and business owners) would now pay over 50% of their income in taxes when considering all local, state and federal rates.
Here are some other major components of the budget plan:
At a time numerous states are looking to eliminate income tax systems, we shouldn’t be looking to expand them. House Democrats say they expect their budget bills to pass through the House floor by the end of April. Our economy is currently heading in the right direction and revenue is rising by about 3 percent on its own, without the need of tax increases.
Many of you will receive a survey in the mail this week on issues we’re working on in St. Paul. Please complete it and return it to my office. If you don’t receive a mailing, you can complete my survey online at www.House.mn/14A.
Town Hall – Thank You
I want to thank the many of you that took time out of your busy schedules on March 16 to attend the Town Hall meeting in St. Cloud with Mayor Dave Kleis and other legislators. It was great to get feedback and answer questions from constituents. If you weren't able to attend, or didn't get the chance to have your question answered, I hope you'll contact my office.
The legislature has been on break this week, and will resume our normal floor and committee scheduled on Tuesday. I want to wish you and your family a very blessed and enjoyable Easter/Passover weekend.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Rep. Tama Theis