This week at the Capitol, we’ve been hearing and voting on omnibus finance bills and tax conformity legislation. I’m encouraged by the progress we’re making so far, but I’m hoping to see a robust jobs bill come before the House soon as well. Here are the latest updates from St. Paul:
On Monday, the House passed a bill designed to modify the state tax code after changes at the federal level last year. This is a good step as it will prevent filing from becoming increasingly complicated next year while also delivering cuts to many Minnesotans. I’m committed to upholding our values as a community: fairness, opportunity for all, responsible investments in our future. While the bill included some modest tax cuts for families, it was weighted too heavily in favor of large corporations. We must remain committed to ensuring our economy works for everyone, regardless of income.
I offered two amendments to the transportation finance bill passed Tuesday.
The first would have provided funding for safety studies and improvements on University Avenue, Hwy. 65, and East River Road. We need improvements and we need them now. University Avenue has had numerous fatalities over the several months and action must be taken to make these sections of road safer for drivers, pedestrians, and transit users. Although the amendment was not adopted, I had a very productive meeting with MnDOT, and representatives from Fridley, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Spring Lake Park, and Anoka County. MnDOT has committed to moving swiftly to make safety improvements along University Avenue.
My second amendment was adopted, prohibiting handheld cell phone use in work zones. Keeping our construction workers and drivers passing through work zones safe is a high priority and I look forward to it becoming law.
Emergency School Aid
On Tuesday, Gov. Dayton proposed $138 million in emergency funds to school districts across the state. The Anoka-Hennepin School District is facing cuts and these funds would help alleviate the stress on the district. The Anoka-Hennepin School District would receive $5.7 million in one-time funding and the Spring Lake Park School District would receive $860,000 under Gov. Dayton’s proposal.
Small Business Week
Governor Dayton proclaimed Tuesday “Small Helps All Day.” This week marks National Small Business Week. The United States has celebrated Small Business Week since 1963, commemorating the contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Minnesota has more than 503,000 small businesses, which employ approximately 1.2 million people – nearly 47 percent of Minnesota’s workforce.
To learn more about the tools and resources available to entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in Minnesota, click here.
If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please feel free to reach out to me at the Capitol.