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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Peggy Bennett (R)

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Legislative News from Rep. Peggy Bennett

Friday, March 5, 2021

Dear Friends,
I hope you've enjoyed the snow melt this week and are looking forward to temperatures maybe in the 60's next week! Things are beginning to heat up at the Capitol as well, especially now since lawmakers now know what our economic future looks like.
Many Minnesota employees and small businesses have been struggling greatly under the weight of the Governor's executive orders.  Though our economy is starting to show improvement due to federal stimulus efforts and lower than normal state spending, a lot of these individuals and businesses continue to struggle.
Minnesota businesses that received forgivable federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans so they could keep paying their employees and survive the pandemic are now facing tens of thousands of dollars in tax bills because Minnesota is going to tax those loans. Many are still struggling and trying to recover.  Without legislative action, Minnesota will be one of the only states in the upper Midwest to impose these taxes on struggling businesses.  We need to fix this now.
Much like small businesses, families and individuals who have had to survive on unemployment for many months are also struggling.  They, too, could use some tax relief. Though unemployment income has always been taxed, I believe the extra weight and stress that government COVID-19 measures have put on family budgets warrants a special tax exemption at this time.   
With Minnesota projected to see a $1.6 billion surplus, there is no excuse not to protect struggling Main Street business owners and Minnesota employees from unnecessary taxation.  Lots of people are hurting, both businesses and employees, due to the shutdowns. This tax relief is much needed and can be a boost to help both businesses and families recover. 
Not long ago, I discussed my proposed legislation that would create a process to measure and report the effectiveness of government programs, starting with PreK-12 Education grant funded programs. This week, my evidence-based government bill was heard in the Minnesota House Education Finance Committee. It has also been heard in the Senate. 
Under my bill, each PreK-12 program that receives grant funding awarded by the Minnesota Department of Education would need to prove its effectiveness by providing an educational goal; a summary of the strategies used to meet the goal, data collection process; and a short report summarizing the data and the effectiveness of the strategies. This report would give education committee members another tool in the toolbox to help determine what programs to fund or not fund.
Hopefully, this bill will continue to move forward this session. Evidence-based results should be required across state government. Taxpayers are willing to fund programs that are working, but they do not want to fund those that don't work. I am asking that Minnesota government have the information needed to ensure that our state is funding effective programs and stop funding programs that do not work. 
Have a great weekend!