There is a lot of ground – and water – to cover in this newsletter as we prepare to host the Governor’s Fishing Opener in Otter Tail County with the state budget still in flux ahead of Monday’s adjournment in St. Paul. Here’s a look:
Governor’s Fishing Opener
The Governor’s Fishing Opener is set to take place in Otter Tail County this week, with festivities starting on Friday. This event has become a wide-ranging topic of discussion locally. I recently submitted a column to area papers to emphasize this opportunity to share with the rest of the state what makes Otter Tail County a great place to live (and catch a walleye). This event is a salute to Otter Tail County’s local businesses and workers. Please join me in making the fishing opener a success for them.
State budget in limbo
We are in the final throes of budget negotiations at the Capitol in an effort to put a plan in place for the new two-year budget cycle before our Monday deadline to adjourn. Taxes remain a major obstacle to a final agreement, with the House majority continuing to insist on raising taxes by billions of dollars at a time of a historic state surplus. Meanwhile, the Senate majority is holding the line on tax increases.
Adding insult to injury on the lack of progress in the House is business taxes were due nearly two full months ago, and the May 17 extended tax filing deadline is fast approaching. House Democrats continue to hold Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) relief hostage as they continue pushing for billions in tax increases.
Thousands of Minnesotans who were out of work over the past year could be stuck with a tax bill they can't afford and forced to file for an extension as they wait for action on a bill that has overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers.
ECO Act conference committee
A conference committee has formed to reconcile differences between House and Senate Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act legislation. The aim of this bill is to allow electric co-ops and utilities more flexibility to meet their annual energy savings goals. I am honored to have been named as a conferee to this committee and will be working toward compromise on a final bill that benefits the environment, reduces consumers’ total energy bills, and creates local jobs.
Watch for more news from the House as we make our way to adjournment and, until next time, good luck fishing.