Now that we have the Easter/Passover break behind us, the Legislature is back in session with an important list of things to accomplish in the time remaining this session. Here are some updates and previews from the Capitol:
Due to the passage of the federal tax bill last year, changes are necessary at the state level. If we fully conform to the federal tax bill, Minnesota families will be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes. Alternatively, taking no action on the state code will greatly complicate filing for Minnesotans.
Gov. Dayton has proposed changes that would continue to provide cuts for families. Additionally, farmers and small businesses eligible for Section 179 Expensing could depreciate 100 percent of new equipment purchases up to $1 million. In keeping with the governor’s emphasis on Minnesota families and small businesses, revenue would be raised by reducing the effects of the federal cut for corporations.
We’re at our best when everyone has a fair chance to succeed in our state. I’m committed to making our tax system fair for everyone, regardless of their income or occupation.
On Monday, Gov. Dayton sent a letter to legislative leaders calling for action on a range of issues; ensuring the safety of schoolchildren, addressing the opioid crisis, and stabilizing Minnesota worker pensions. He also urged the protection of Minnesota’s elderly and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect. I support legislation that accomplishes these goals and I am optimistic we can find compromise on solving such an inexcusable problem.
On the House Capital Investment Committee, we’ve heard many bills regarding public construction and infrastructure projects all around the state. What a final bonding bill will look like is still unclear, meaning the fate of several local projects is up in the air. These projects include upgrades for RCTC, Cascade Lake Park, Graham Park, Chesterwoods Bike train extension, and expanding Rochester’s bus garage.
Distracted Driving Crackdown
Between April 9 and April 22, more than 300 law enforcement agencies around the state will be cracking down on distracted driving. In Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one out of five crashes. I have coauthored HF 3921 in support of curbing the use of cellphones while driving.
Eleven area students teamed up with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office to encourage classmates and the wider public to not text and drive. Thank you to them for their involvement and commitment to this cause!
As always, if you’d like to share your ideas and input on legislative matters, please feel free to reach out to me at the Capitol.