Next week several of my colleagues in the Minnesota House will be co-hosting events in the area, including an official committee hearing.
The State Government Finance Committee will meet at the Brainerd courthouse (326 Laurel St.) at noon Thursday. The hearing focuses on two primary topics: veterans issues, and legislation passed last session that enables counties to contract with private auditing firms to perform local audits, instead of being mandated to use the State Auditor’s Office. Area county officials and local veterans are expected to testify.
This is a great chance for veterans and their families to provide committee members with their perspectives on how Minnesota can improve the services. As a fellow veteran, I understand how important it is for Minnesota to be doing all it can to help our service men and women. This is especially true in rural Minnesota, where we often do not have the same level of access to services as our fellow vets the Twin Cities."
That hearing will follow Wednesday's series of four business tax listening sessions in our area. Myself, Rep. Josh Heintzeman from Nisswa, House Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division chairman Rep. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, are hosting those meetings.
Our goal is to gather feedback from area businesses in preparation for the 2016 legislative session. The state general business tax is a huge burden on local businesses. Although the tax shows up on local property tax statements, none of those dollars stay here locally, rather they are funneled into the quagmire of the state general fund in St. Paul.
Here is the schedule:
Last year, the House passed tax reform legislation eliminating the statewide business property tax for small business owners. That bill awaits full legislative action during the 2016 session, and is expected to be a top priority for this legislative session.
I hope you can attend some or all of these events. Please keep sending in feedback. It is a very important part of helping me to do my best at representing the people in our district.