Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I would like to start by thanking everyone who came to the Property Tax Listening Session and Committee Meeting in Stewartville last Thursday. It was great to have so many constituents from Stewartville and across my district come down to testify on the official House record about local property taxes.
This meeting was a great way to start the session, giving access for people to voice their concerns before a bipartisan House committee. I am hopeful we can have more opportunities this session for people to share their input on important topics because your feedback is invaluable to me.
Citizens made their voices heard in Stewartville, and now it’s up to legislators to come together in a bipartisan manner to implement some meaningful tax reform during the 2015 session.
Flood Bill Benefits Olmsted County
Last summer in Olmsted County and across the state, Minnesotans experienced significant damage from flooding and heavy rains, eliciting a federal emergency declaration.
On Monday, the House suspended the legislative rules to unanimously pass a $17 million disaster relief bill which will help pay for flood damage repairs in 47 counties including Olmsted. With matching federal dollars from FEMA, the Department of Transportation and the Board of Water and Soil Resources, communities will be able to cover the cost of repairs and benefit from the timely passage of this legislation.
Governor Dayton Releases Budget
On Tuesday, Governor Dayton released his budget recommendations for FY 2016-17. It’s great to see that he is emphasizing things like repairing our roads and bridges and putting more money into education, but I still think his proposal takes too much from Minnesota taxpayers and includes too many misplaced priorities.
As many of you may know, Minnesota is currently sitting on a $1 billion surplus, money which can be used to help fund Minnesotans’ priorities—without raising taxes. The governor, however, is proposing $903 million in tax increases over the next biennium and growing general fund spending by $3 billion. That amounts to increasing overall state spending by $1244 for every man, woman and child in our state.
House committees will be hearing testimony in the upcoming weeks from state agencies regarding Governor Dayton’s recommendations, with the legislature not forming their budget until after the February forecast is released at the end of next month.
I am optimistic that Democrats and Republicans can work together in the coming months to pass a balanced budget with smart priorities that doesn’t needlessly take more money out of the pockets of Minnesota families and hardworking taxpayers.
Meeting with Local Leaders
Last week, I attended the Eggs and Issues event put on by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. It was wonderful to connect with local business leaders and discuss what our state government can do to improve Minnesota’s business climate.
Also last week, I attended the Farmington Township Supervisors meeting. I always appreciate the chance to hear about what’s happening in our communities and talk with our locally elected officials. I plan on attending township meetings throughout my district over the coming months to keep up to date with important issues and initiatives happening in our district.
It’s an honor and privilege to represent District 26B! Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you ever need assistance on a matter of state government.
**Encourage your neighbors and friends to sign up for my email updates at www.house.mn/26B