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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Josh Heintzeman

Monday, February 17, 2020

Dear Neighbors

Last Tuesday, the 2020 legislative session officially began as lawmakers returned to St. Paul for what’s sure to be a busy year.

Most of the first day’s floor session was spent honoring the memory of three National Guardsmen that were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in December. We also spent time remembering and sharing stories about former State Representative, Diane Loeffler. Rep. Loeffler passed away recently after a battle with cancer.

Please be sure to keep the families of Chief Warrant Officer James Rogers, Jr., Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles Nord, Sgt. Kort Plantenberg, and Diane Loeffler in your thoughts and prayers.

Here are a few broad priorities that I plan on pursuing during this year’s legislative session.

Tax Relief

The 2020 session begins with state government already fully funded, our budget reserve at an all-time high, and a budget surplus of $1.3 billion.

While Democrats and Governor Walz want to use the surplus to pursue new spending and programs that only serve to grow the size of government, I think it’s pretty clear that these dollars belong to Minnesota taxpayers and that it should be returned to them through tax relief.

Ideas include eliminating the state tax on social security benefits, abolishing the sick tax; a tax that directly increases the costs of health care; or working to lower property taxes. Either way, the surplus shows that the state is taking in more tax revenue than needed, so it only makes sense to give that surplus back to hardworking Minnesotans.

Government Accountability

Minnesotans have grown frustrated after a summer and fall filled with the endless news of chaos, misspending, and mismanagement at the Department of Human Services (DHS). The reports make clear that something is rotten at DHS and the legislature needs to pursue significant accountability measures to make sure government is working efficiently.

Rather than forcing taxpayers to cover the tens of millions of dollars the state owes to the federal government due to mismanagement—DHS should take responsibility for this mess and find savings in their $17 billion budget to cover the costs.

Additionally, a full, top-to-bottom audit of the agency would be critical in helping us better understand the depths of the mess at the Department.

The government must be accountable to the people that it serves, and DHS must do better.

Safety in Our Cities

Crime was at an all-time high on the Light Rail in 2019, and there’s been a spike in assaults, robberies, murders, and gang activity in the Metro area. House Republicans will work with law enforcement this session to consider policies that can reduce crime and help keep Minnesotans safe in their communities.

Staying in Touch

It continues to be a privilege to represent you, your family, and the Brainerd Lakes Area at the capitol. I remain as committed as ever to pursuing conservative, common-sense solutions to the challenges facing our state. Please be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. I can be reached on the phone at 651-296-4333 and via email at rep.josh.heintzeman@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Josh

 

P.S. This coming Friday, February 21st, I will be on 100.1 News Talk Radio from 8:30-9 a.m. Immediately following, I will be at the westside McDonald's for in-district office hours.