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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Baker (R)

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News from Dave

Monday, February 24, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

The 2020 legislative session is officially underway as lawmakers returned to St. Paul on February 11th for what’s sure to be a busy year. As always, I am committed to working hard this session to make sure Kandiyohi County is well represented in St. Paul and that state government pursue common-sense solutions to the problems facing Minnesota.

Heading into the 2020 session, state government is fully funded, our budget reserve is at an all-time high, and Minnesota has a billion-dollar-plus budget surplus. 

With such a large budget surplus, I plan to pursue tax relief that returns as much of the surplus to hardworking Minnesotans as possible.

I also anticipate that a bonding bill will be considered this session. For any bill to gain my support, it needs to be focused on infrastructure projects and not sacrifice Minnesota’s financial future by putting too much on our “credit card”.

Section 179 Fix

This session, I will be working on a tax bill that addresses issues related to Section 179 depreciation for farmers and other business owners. Because of changes in how the federal government treats like-kind exchanges, the value of items that are traded on newer equipment is now classified as income. 

This has resulted in many farmers and business owners receiving letters from the Department of Revenue with tax bills going back to 2018. Many of those bills are quite large, with some even reaching six figures!

House Tax Committee Chairman Paul Marquart and Rep. Paul Anderson were in Willmar recently for a meeting with local farmers and business owners concerning this issue. I appreciate them taking the time to visit and to hear questions and concerns local folks have on this topic. 

Helping Counties when Disaster Strikes

A bill I am carrying this session was heard in the Public Safety Committee last week. The bill is an initiative from the Minnesota Council on Foundations and would help establish competitive grant pools for counties and nonprofits to recruit and train local volunteers to help and support disaster response and recovery efforts.

This legislation will equip cities and counties with the tools, resources, and manpower they need to help clean up from storms and natural disasters that cause significant damage but may not necessarily rise to the level needed for a Governor’s disaster declaration.

Local Issues

Best of luck to all our local high school students at NLS, Willmar, and ACGC that will be participating in state tournaments in the coming weeks! Hard work and determination pays off and I wish you all nothing but the best.

Recently, a group of local high school students in the Kandiyohi CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program visited St. Paul and had a chance to meet with Governor Walz and talk about how this exciting program is preparing them to become successful entrepreneurs.

What an impressive group of young people and way to go!

Please be sure to let me know if you plan to be in St. Paul anytime this year. It would be great to meet with you. I can be reached at rep.dave.baker@house.mn or you can call 651-296-6206.

Have a good week,

Dave

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