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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tama Theis (R)

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Legislative Report from Rep. Tama Theis

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friends and Neighbors,

Now that the legislative session has concluded, I’d like to provide you with some information on how it went. My priorities in the Minnesota House are simple: create policies that grow jobs, support small busi­ness and provide essential services our communities depend on. As a small business owner for most of my life, I know first-hand the challeng­es our state’s entrepreneurs face in building and maintaining com­panies large and small. In order to create a more job-friendly environ­ment in Minnesota, we need to ad­dress critical issues in the areas of health care, higher education, and transportation. I’ve spent time this session on all of these important ar­eas of our state budget.

Here is more information on this year’s big issues:


As we close the books on this 2013 session, it is now clear that fiscal pol­icies put in place by Republicans in 2011 have worked to grow Minneso­ta’s economy and create jobs without raising taxes.

Our $5 billion projected budget deficit took a dramatic turnaround and grew into a more than $3 billion budget surplus. What was once a 7.5 per­cent unemployment rate is now 5.3 percent.

Just last year, 55,000 new jobs were created and 60,000 Minnesotans took a risk and worked hard to start their own business.

And the best news is, Minnesota’s economy continues to improve and revenues continue to come in higher than projected.

Here are some key developments which show how Minnesota is on its current path to a healthier economy:

  • REVENUE RISING: Economic forecasts issued since Republicans put a new budget in place in 2011 have combined to produce nearly $3 billion in more-than-expected revenue.
  • LONG-TERM STABILITY: Budget decisions Republicans made in 2011 not only erased a $5 billion shortfall, but paved the way for a surplus projected for 2016-17.
  • RESERVES REPLENISHED: Re­publican surpluses filled the state’s depleted reserves, cash flow ac­count and repaid $1.8 billion to Minnesota schools.


On May 20, the 2013 legislative session came to a close. I’m deeply concerned about the higher taxes, fees and costs that will be imposed on hard-working Minnesotans.

Here are some of the new policies passed by the majority during the 2013 legislative session.

New Taxes and Fees

2.1 billion dollars in new taxes starting this summer:

4th tier income tax on individuals and businesses: $1.12 billion by increasing income tax on top bracket by 25 percent.

Sales and Gift Tax: $137 million by expanding sales tax to services like warehousing and storage, IT services, telecommunications and gift tax.

Everyone pays more for necessities:

  • Groceries like bread and milk due to warehousing tax
  • Medical products due to warehousing tax
  • Gas due to warehousing tax
  • Electric bills due to additional mandates on utility companies
  • Health insurance due to Democrats’ Insurance Exchange
  • Drivers’ licenses, vehicle registration and vehicle title fees
  • Internet purchases due to sales tax
  • Farm equipment repairs due to electronic and commercial repair services sales tax

Other Bad Legislation

Democrats’ Insurance Exchange (HIX):  This legislation means higher costs, fewer choices and less privacy for Minnesotans.  It does nothing to guarantee better health care, lower insurance premiums, increase coverage or create savings in the health care system.

Eliminating GRAD standards: Democrats got rid of graduation standards instead of giving Minnesota students and our state’s future workforce the tools they need to meet our high standards. Our high school diploma should be more than a certificate of participation.




Our school boards and parents know what’s best for our students, not centralized bureaucrats in St. Paul or Washington. That’s why I supported more local control of our education policies and opposed moving funding outside the classroom and into new oversight offices for K-12 education in Minnesota. The most effective teachers and learning environments will come from limiting state control over the learning experience in our local public schools.


House Democrats passed a bill by one vote to authorize a unionization effort for at-home childcare providers and personal care attendants (PCAs). The bill could lead to thousands of home-based small businesses forced into a union and raise prices for care (even if they opt-out). I opposed this effort strongly and stand with the rights of these providers to operate free of government control.


The legislature took a good first step this year by imposing new tuition and cost controls on our state colleges and universities, but the problem of affordability still exists for Minnesota students hoping to attend college. Institutions must demonstrate they are committed to making efficiencies and cutting administrative waste. I support limits on new public funding without accountability measures to lower tuition and increase access for future generations.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July!


Rep. Tama Theis