Last chance to speak as legislators race to session deadline

Mike KnaakEditorial, Opinion, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

Now it’s time to get serious.

The Legislature has been in session since Feb. 20. But there are only 10 days left before the session deadline and the Legislature must act on two huge measures affecting every Minnesotan.

Now is the last chance for Minnesotans to speak up as the legislators race to the deadline.

The state needs to align the Minnesota tax code to accommodate changes made in federal tax laws. Otherwise, Minnesotans may end up with some surprises when filing their 2018 taxes.

The House and Senate have different plans but both Republican-controlled bodies claim their measures will reduce taxes.

The Senate plan keeps some deductions the federal plan eliminated and also lowers the bottom tax rate. House members want to eliminate some deductions and lower the tax rate for about 2 million Minnesotans.

Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, doesn’t like either plan. He’d like to raise business taxes and cut taxes for individuals.

Bonding bills typically dominate the second year of a legislative session and this year is no different. Four months ago, Dayton proposed bonding for $1.5 million to fund roads, water projects and fix state buildings. The Senate has yet to unveil its bonding plan.

The current House plan includes $2.7 million for a new fence at the St. Cloud prison, $5 million for Waite Park’s quarry redevelopment and $4.45 million for St. Cloud armory repairs. Bonding for St. Joseph’s pedestrian underpass and community center, called for by bills introduced by Rep. Jeff Howe, are not in the House bonding bill.

School-safety funding has already been included in bills passed by both chambers. But there’s no agreement between Republicans and Democrats on whether gun-safety legislation should be part of school safety. Those measures include expanding background checks and keeping guns away from people believed to be a risk.

This is an election year, but Dayton isn’t running for re-election and Senators aren’t on the ballot until 2012. But House Republicans have criticized Dayton’s tax plan as an increase. When they start campaigning full time after the session ends, Republicans will want to argue they are tax cutters.

This is the week to let your legislators know your opinion.

Contact Sen. Michelle Fischbach at
95 University Ave. W.
Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 2113
St. Paul, Minn. 55155

For voters in the St. Joseph area, contact Rep. Jeff Howe (13A) at
527 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-4373 or 800-947-8264

Sartell-area residents should contact Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (13B) at
559 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-7808 or 800-920-9984

Act now. Ten days from now it will be too late.

Author: Mike Knaak

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