It was a productive week at the legislature and I am looking forward to updating you on some of the important events that took place.
Property Tax Listening Session
I am excited to announce that I will be hosting a property tax listening session in Faribault on Thursday, February 5 at the Truckers Inn, 2519 Lyndale Avenue N., from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Joining me at this event will be Chairman of the House Property Tax and Local Government Aid Committee, Rep. Steve Drazkowski. I encourage you to attend to let Chair Drazkowski and myself know how property taxes are affecting you, your family, and your business.
On Monday, the House passed Senate File 1. This bill offers $17 million in disaster relief aid to counties around the state that suffered flood and wind damage as a result of last summer’s storms that swept across the state. This $17 million in state spending serves as a match in order to receive $50 million from the federal government. In total, 47 counties and 3 tribal governments were included in the bill. Relief aid for Dodge, Steele, and Rice Counties were included in the final package.
The package includes $13 million in a Federal Emergency Management Agency match, as well as smaller appropriations for disaster spending by the Department of Transportation ($3 million) and the Board of Water and Soil Resources ($2.5 million). It also provides around $5 million for state-only disaster relief spending through the state’s recently created natural disaster contingency fund.
I am happy to see that this bipartisan piece of legislation was fast tracked through the legislature so that our counties can receive the aid needed to either finish the cleanup effort or to be reimbursed for the damage that was caused last summer.
Governor's Budget Unveiled
On Tuesday, Governor Mark Dayton revealed his budget recommendations for the coming biennium. While there are portions of the proposal where I think we can find some common ground, I am concerned about the increased spending and tax burden on Minnesotans and their families.
For instance, the Governor is proposing a 6.5% increase in the state’s gas tax to pay for new transportation investments. I do not think that now is the right time to be tossing around the idea of increasing our gas tax – especially as we are finally starting to see some relief in gas prices at the pump. Also disappointing is that the Governor did not include any new funding to address the problems our nursing homes face. Our seniors deserve to be a priority, not an afterthought.
I understand that Minnesotans still face uncertainty in their jobs, their budgets, and in their kids’ future. Instead of easing those worries, the Governor budget proposes a massive increase in government spending and taxes. I am concerned about these increases and am looking forward to taking a closer look at the recommendations as they begin to move through the committee process.
Staying in Touch
Please encourage your family, friends, or co-workers to sign up for my weekly email updates. They can sign up by visiting my official House page.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay connected with me by visiting my Facebook page and my Twitter account.