Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you observed Memorial Day in a patriotic and special way. I was honored to speak at the Princeton Memorial Day Service. You can read my speech here.
With that said, session finally came to an end May 20, and it was great to return to the district to visit with residents and to recuperate from a hectic final month in Saint Paul.
It took right up until the very end, but Democrats were able to pass all of their budget bills which Governor Dayton will have signed by the time you receive this update. Thus, I want to update you on some of the biggest pieces of legislation that passed in the final days.
$2 billion in new taxes
Just after 2AM on Sunday morning, the House passed a $2 billion dollar tax increase that's sure to hit the pocketbooks of Minnesotans across the state. The plan relies on increased taxes on the top 2% of income earners, as well as smokers because of a steep increase in the cigarette tax. Governor Dayton himself has expressed concerns about the regressive nature of the cigarette tax, and its impact on low and middle-income Minnesotans.
In addition there are new business taxes on warehouses and storage that could result in higher prices for everyday items like food and gasoline. These taxes were added at the very end of session with very little scrutiny or review. Democrats are already realizing how damaging these taxes may be and are already discussing the possibility of repealing them next session.
One of the other big-ticket pieces of legislation that passed on the final day of session was a bill that aims to unionize childcare providers and personal care attendants. Nearly all childcare providers are independent small business owners -- not simply employees, making this unionization effort almost unprecedented. It will result in higher costs for providers who will be forced to pay union dues, meaning higher childcare costs for hardworking Minnesota families.
One of the worst parts of this legislation is that if a provider does not wish to join the union she must either pay fair-share dues or be forced no longer to accept low income children who rely on childcare assistance- program-subsidies from the state. Giving our state's low-income families fewer choices for childcare is simply unacceptable, and it was an easy decision for me to vote "NO" on this legislation.
I will continue to update you during interim. Please contact me with concerns or needs.
Stay in touch by liking my Facebook page, which you can find by clicking here.