Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As always, thanks to everyone who made the trip to St. Paul this week for a visit. I was able to meet with hospitality and tourism professionals, motorcyclists, students, and local government officials from the Itasca area. It’s such a joy to meet with area residents and discuss issues important to their work and livelihoods.
In this week’s update, I wanted to highlight some of the bills I am authoring – like an occupation tax credit for taconite companies – as we approach the first of our committee deadlines.
This week, I had four hearings in all. First, I appeared before the taxes committee with my bill to provide a credit against the taconite occupation tax. The occupation tax is applied to ferrous and nonferrous miners and is paid in lieu of corporate franchise tax on mining activities. This is an important provision for our area because the mining industry suffered a major downturn in 2015-16 and is still fighting to maintain global competitiveness. I was pleased at the response the bill received in committee, and hope to see this provision included in any final tax proposal this session. Also, this is a bipartisan bill with much of the House Iron Range Delegation signed on as co-authors.
Other bills I presented during the week included my bill before the Civil Law Committee to create one uniform, statewide set of standards for transportation network companies (my “Lyft bill”), a bonding request before State Government Finance to renovate our 64-year-old Armory building in Grand Rapids, and a request – with testimony provided by Children’s Discovery Museum Executive Director John Kelsch – for funding from Education Finance to cover transportation costs for the lowest income students to have the Discovery Museum experience.
With committee deadlines approaching, I – like many legislators – am working to introduce needed bills, and have them receive a hearing in committee. Recently, I introduced legislation to guarantee dedicated funding for grant-in-aid snowmobile trails, provide more rural broadband funding, and to clarify the use of the Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund. I see these as important issues for our area, and I’m happy to have bipartisan co-authors on two of these bills.
Congratulations to the Grand Rapids girls’ basketball team for making it to the state tournament! They had such a great regular season, and we’re so proud they were able to represent us at the state level. Unfortunately, they did fall in the state semifinals, but still have a chance to bring home a medal in the third-place game against Willmar tomorrow. Good luck, girls!
Please Contact Me
As always, please email or call me if you need anything. I’m learning so much as I hear your opinions and expertise on a number of issues.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend!