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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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Legislative Update & Town Hall Reminder - February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

REMINDER: TOWN HALL MEETING – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19

Please join Senator Bobby Joe Champion, Representative Raymond Dehn, and me for a Town Hall meeting on Monday, February 19 to discuss issues facing the 2018 legislative session. Town hall meetings are informal public forums that give members of the community an opportunity to ask questions, hear updates on the legislative session, and to provide input on issues important to you and your family. These meetings are open to the public.

Special Guests: City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison and County Commissioner Linda Higgins.

WHERE: Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC), Room 105

2001 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis MN 55412

WHEN: 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

REVENUE

State general fund revenue was $349 million above the forecasted amount for January 2018.

The latest Minnesota Management & Budget information compares actual receipts for January to receipts forecasted for January by the November 2017 general fund forecast.

This amount combined with November and December 2017 revenues ($219 million above forecast) results in a net revenue change of a positive $568 (349 + 219) million for FY 2018 since the November 2017 forecast.

The net $349 million positive variance for January is the sum of the variances in several areas. The chart below reflects the forecasted amount, actual revenue and the difference (dollars are in millions).

House Image

Sales tax revenues included in this report include the sales tax collections for the holiday season through the end of December. Most of the increase above forecast in the Other revenues area is due to high positive variances in estate tax and cigarette and tobacco tax revenues.

Minnesota Management & Budget plans to release the next state budget forecast on Wednesday, February 28.

WINTER HEATING SAFETY REMINDERS

Winter is still far from over and the Minnesota Department of Commerce is reminding everyone of some basic tips to stay warm and safe through the end of the heating season. Safety should always come first when heating our homes, and they are encouraging people to follow basic safety tips and apply for energy assistance if you are having trouble paying your heating bills.

  • Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working. These are essential parts of home safety and are required by code in every home. They can warn of a fire or a dangerous malfunction with a furnace, water heater, fireplace or stove. Test monthly and replace batteries every year.
  • Use space heaters safely. Any space heater that burns with an open flame (such as wood, natural gas, propane or kerosene) must be vented to the outside to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide and other gases. To avoid burns and fire hazards, keep children and flammable materials at least three feet away from all space heaters.
  • Keep snow and ice clear of furnace exhaust vents, air intake hoods and chimneys. This ensures safe, efficient heating and prevents potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Inspect heating systems annually. Every year furnaces, water heaters and other devices fail because of improper maintenance, cleaning or adjustment. This costs money with emergency repairs and higher energy costs. Equipment operating improperly can also lead to dangerous conditions, including carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Apply for energy assistance if you are struggling to pay your heating bills. The Minnesota Energy Assistance Program, administered by the Commerce Department, is an essential safety net for vulnerable Minnesotans. Energy assistance helps pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors. It can also help some households repair or replace malfunctioning heating systems.

Energy assistance is available to Minnesota homeowners and renters who earn less than 50 percent of the state’s median annual income ($48,077 for a family of four). Qualifying households apply through the local service provider in their area. To find your local service provider, call the Commerce Department toll-free at 800-657-3710 or visit the Energy Assistance Program section of the Commerce website (mn.gov/commerce)

I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Also, I am available during select hours on Monday and Friday mornings most weeks for in-district meetings, if Northside residents aren’t able to make it to the Capitol. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at rep.fue.lee@house.mn. I look forward to hearing from you!