It was a busy and productive first week back at the Capitol. I hope we can get the people's work done in a timely manner this session and be done before the constitutionally mandated May 19th deadline.
Some updates from the first week in St. Paul:
This week the House and Senate unanimously passed a bill to appropriate $20 million in additional funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP for short). Due to the unusually tough winter we've been experiencing and a spike in propane prices due to a supply shortage, the program was due to run out of funding in early March.
Today the Management and Budget Office announced that Minnesota has a $1.2 billion dollar budget surplus. In short, it means the government collected $1.2 billion in greater-than-anticipated revenue in addition to the $2.4 billion dollars in tax and fee increases passed in 2013.
Following the announcement, Republicans held a press conference to announce our "Give It Back" proposal. We believe the surplus belongs to hardworking Minnesota families, not the government. After being asked to foot the bill for a $90 million Senate Office Building, pay raises for politicians, and a broken ObamaCare website, Minnesota taxpayers deserve a break. It's your money, we think it should go back to the taxpayers rather than risking it being spent on outrageous wasteful projects.
Included in the Give It Back proposal is the repeal of the three damaging business-to-business taxes that were passed last session; the commercial equipment repair tax, the warehousing tax, and the telecommunications tax. The proposal also includes federal tax conformity which would restore tax breaks that are exempt under the federal tax code but taxed under the Minnesota tax code. Currently, Minnesotans are exempt from federal (but not state) taxes on employer-provided tuition assistance, employer-provided adoption assistance, and childcare costs among others.
You can count on me to support efforts to repeal these harmful taxes and let you keep more of your hard-earned tax dollars.
Stay safe on the roads, and have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 15A