By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 4/20/2018
Hello from the State Capitol,
As we begin to create a supplemental budget for the remainder of this two-year budget cycle, House lawmakers learned this week that Governor Dayton’s tax plan would raise taxes on Minnesotans in every income bracket.
According to a tax incidence study issued by Governor Dayton’s revenue department, the governor’s proposal would make Minnesota’s tax code more regressive and that households making less than $32,000 would be hit hardest.
What’s most startling is that the analysis directly contradicts claims by Governor Dayton that his budget would cut taxes for over 2 million Minnesotans and their families, and by the revenue commissioner that it prioritizes low-income and middle-class families. The proposal itself would reinstate more than $1 billion in health care tax increases, repeal tax reductions enacted last session, and make numerous changes reacting to tax changes at the federal level.
The Minnesota House Taxes Committee is currently vetting the Governor’s plan and giving it a full hearing. Personally, with Minnesota’s economy doing well, I don’t see the need to raise taxes on anyone and I won’t ever see the need to raise taxes on the families in the lowest income brackets already struggling to make ends meet. As session moves forward, I’m hopeful all sides will be able to work out a compromise and try to keep as many Minnesotans as possible from being impacted by changes to the federal tax code.
Also this week our struggling deputy registrars would get a much needed break under legislation approved by the Minnesota House. Recognizing that deputy registrars have been spending countless dollars out of their own pocket due to Minnesota’s failing licensing and registration system (MNLARS), the House plan would appropriate $9 million from Driver and Vehicle Services operating accounts for reimbursement aid to them. That would mean nearly $150,000 for local deputy registrars. While we realize this doesn’t make the deputy registrars across the state whole, hopefully it will help offset the losses they incurred.
The bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate for its approval.
On Wednesday, Minnesota House lawmakers unveiled a plan that would help construct three new veterans’ homes in underserved areas of our state – Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston. I support that idea, but I also want to make sure legislators don’t forget their responsibility to maintain current facilities, such as the veterans home in Hastings. Last year I authored legislation that helped fund many Hastings veterans home improvements, but more work remains and I will continue fighting for the needs of our local facility and those who fought for our freedoms.
Last week you’ll recall I hosted USA Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins and her family at the Minnesota House of Representatives. We held a press conference where she expressed her support of my bill that could help could bring an International Ski Federation Nordic World Cup Ski Championship to Minnesota, as it would direct the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission to support the preparation and submission of a competitive bid to host the event in our state.
I have good news to report on that front, as the chair of the House State Government Finance Committee has agreed to include my bill in a comprehensive state government bill that will be debated on the House floor in the coming weeks.
This week I joined Representative Keith Franke at Cottage Grove’s annual volunteer banquet held at River Oaks Golf Course. Congratulations to Justin Fox who was named “Volunteer of the Year.”
At the Capitol, I was able to meet with Latasha Schipper, David Welshons and Richard Welshons from DCA Title in Hastings. They were visiting on behalf of Minnesota Land Title Association. Wayne Butt and Randy Bachman from the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce also stopped in for a visit.
Correctional officers from Minnesota prisons were also in St. Paul this week to discuss a variety of issues including pensions, officer pay, the Appleton prison and more.
Have a good weekend,
Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155