It feels like we were just on Christmas break, and now it’s going to be 50 degrees this weekend. It’s amazing to think we are fast approaching the March 8 start of the legislative session. With just a couple weeks remaining of interim, I wanted to get in touch with a preview of what’s to come. Because of construction at the Capitol, we have a shorter session, but there’s much to accomplish in the coming months.
A major focus for me in 2016 is to support tax relief for Minnesota families. Our state has a $1.2 billion surplus that continues to grow. This means it’s past time to ease the burden of state taxes on folks across the state. The omnibus bill passed out of the House last year included relief for farmers, senior citizens, recent college grads, and our military veterans. That bill is still in conference committee, but will be a main point of discussion at the Capitol.
Another top priority for the Legislature is to strengthen our roads and bridges throughout Minnesota. It’s no secret our roads and bridges could use a renovation. Last year, we passed a plan to invest $7 billion over 10 years in transportation without raising taxes on you. By using existing, dedicated revenue streams, we can fix our infrastructure without costing you, the taxpayer, more of your hard-earned paycheck. Like the omnibus tax bill, this bill also sits in conference committee from 2015.
As we enter the second year of the biennium, we start to discuss a bonding proposal to fund essential projects around Minnesota. The governor has released his proposal, and, I’m sorry (but not surprised) to report that no money was used for transportation outside a couple projects within Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our area is a great mix of Greater Minnesota and a large city; isn’t Rochester and the surrounding area worthy of the governor’s plan? I’ll advocate for a bonding bill that prioritizes projects throughout ALL of Minnesota.
One way I’m preparing for the legislative session is by listening to people around the district. An opportunity to voice your opinion is on Thursday, Feb. 25 when Rep. Steve Drazkowski and I will be hosting a town hall meeting about property taxes. The town hall starts at 8:30 a.m. at Eyota Fire Hall, 19 S Front St. SW, Eyota, MN 55934. I hope to see you all there to discuss this important issue!
With just weeks until session, I’d encourage you to contact me with any ideas, questions, or suggestions. I would love to hear your opinion on any issue that’s important to you. You can reach me at (651) 296-4378 or Rep.Nels.Pierson@house.mn.