A busy week at the Capital as the governor’s budget was released and a disaster relief bill was passed.
Governor's Budget Unveiled
Gov. Mark Dayton released his budget proposal for the 2016-17 biennium. The proposal includes increased spending by $3 billion to $42 billion in the General Fund. Governor Dayton’s recommendations would increase overall state spending by $1,244 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota.
The governor’s plan also increases taxes by $9 billion over the next decade, including a 6.5-percent tax on wholesale gasoline. Reports indicate this would result in another 16 cents per gallon at current prices. The governor is also seeking a half-cent sales tax increase in seven-county metro and an increase in license tab fees. As a member of the Transportation Policy and Finance Committee, I absolutely do not support raising transportation taxes!
State government does not have a revenue problem but instead has a spending-priorities problem. For instance, the governor’s proposal includes millions of dollars more to support a flawed MNsure program – which we were promised would be self-sustaining – and also provides millions more to rent a new Senate office complex which is not necessary.
House Republicans are working on the broad points of our own budget proposal and will hammer out the details once the next, full economic forecast is released in February. Once released, the new spending/revenue figures will give us a firm framework to build a budget.
Disaster Relief Aid
On Monday, the House passed Senate File 1. This bill provides nearly $17 million dollars in aid to 47 counties and 3 tribal governments which are still performing repairs and cleanup from the severe storms of last summer. The bill will allow Minnesota to receive matching federal funds of $50 million. Wright County was included in this package.
I am happy we were able to pass this bill with unanimous, bi-partisan support and get it quickly to governor’s desk so Wright County and other counties around the state will be able to finish the cleanup from last summer’s storms.
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Tour
Myself and the other members of the Public Safety Committee toured the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) facility. The BCA provides investigative and specialized law enforcement services to prevent and solve crimes in partnership with law enforcement, public safety, and criminal justice agencies throughout the state. BCA services include criminal justice training and development, forensic laboratory analysis, criminal histories, and investigations. The BCA is an impressive organization and I thank them for inviting us to share information about their operations.
Monday was Gun Owners Lobby Day at the Capital organized by Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA). I am a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights and I proudly stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of our liberties!
Minnesota Farm Bureau
It was an honor to attend the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s annual event in St. Paul this week. The Farm Bureau consists of teachers, farmers, community leaders, husbands, wives, parents and business owners who believe in hard work, love of community, passion for the land and belief rooted in faith and family. Agriculture has a long, rich history in our state and is a major driver of our state’s economy.
Thank you to all the people who continue reaching out to me and providing input as we take on challenges in the Legislature. I welcome your emails and, also, please call (651) 296-1534 to arrange a visit if you plan to be at the Capitol.