As another busy week comes to a close in St. Paul, I would like to give you an update of important issues happening at the Capitol and in our district.
Most of you have received your property tax statement in the mail, and no doubt many were shocked to see the dramatic jump in property taxes compared to last year.
In 2013, Democrats sent local governments $425 million with a promise to lower your property taxes. Now that you have seen your statement, you know it’s a promise broken. Minnesotans are facing the highest property tax levy in state history with property taxes increasing by $125 million statewide.
According to the Department of Revenue, here are some key levy increases for our district:
– Washington County increased levy by 1.4 percent
– Stillwater increased levy by 2.1 percent
– Forest Lake increased levy by 12.2 percent
– Marine on St. Croix increased levy by 2.9 percent
After the state raised taxes by over $2 billion last year, Minnesotans cannot afford anymore tax increases.
Governor Dayton’s Budget
Following the news of Minnesota’s $1.2 billion surplus for the next two years, Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget. In his budget, the governor proposes placing $455 million more in reserves and increasing state spending by an additional $162 million.
The highlight of his budget proposal, however, is the $616 million in tax adjustments including the elimination of several controversial tax increases he signed into law last year. With the House repeal of the three business-to-business taxes last week, and now with the governor’s budget proposal, it seems Democrats are finally willing to admit that their 2013 tax policy failed Minnesota taxpayers.
I am hopeful the legislature will continue to fix the mistakes of last year.
Childhood Obesity Working Group
Childhood obesity is a serious problem in Minnesota and has tripled over the past 30 years. As a former physical education teacher, I know that if students are active and healthy, their grades are better and their self-esteem is higher.
The bipartisan Childhood Obesity Working Group that I co-chair with Representative Kim Norton focuses on state initiatives to help kids get healthy and do better in school. There are several initiatives we are working on, but the one that I am really focused on is funding for the Safe Routes to School Program.
Funded through the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Safe Routes to School provides funding for sidewalks and paths so children are able to safely walk or bike to school. I believe this is an important initiative not only for the safety of our children, but a great way to encourage exercise and activity for kids too.
Veteran’s Day Rally
On Monday, March 17th, there will be a Veterans Day on the Hill Rally at the Minnesota State Capitol. I will be there along with veterans’ organizations and service men and women from across the state.
This event is from 10:00-11:00 AM in the State Capitol Rotunda, and is open to the public. This is a chance to celebrate the over 370,000 veterans in Minnesota, and I would encourage you to attend.
I hope to see you there!
Finally, I recently recorded an interview with House TV to discuss our district, my priorities for this session and give a little more insight into life as a legislator.
If you have time, I would encourage you to check it out here.