Senator Ingebrigtsen recaps session highlightsThe legislative session continues to be interesting and challenging, according to Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. He provided the following review of the session's fifth week.
The legislative session continues to be interesting and challenging, according to Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. He provided the following review of the session's fifth week.
STATE OF THE STATE
Governor Dayton addressed a joint session of the Legislature Wednesday. The governor is committed to massive public spending increases despite being faced with a looming $6.2 billion deficit. He reemphasized his commitment towards enormous tax increases to businesses and “the rich.” I believe that job creation and getting folks back to work should be our top priority and tax increases will slow recovery. With a healthy economy, the rest of the budget issues will work themselves out so the faster we can get jobs back, the faster we will be out of this fiscal mess. I hope the governor will focus on job creation, not tax creation.
EARLY ACTION BUDGET BILL APPROVED, PROMPTLY VETOED
On Thursday, the Senate and House passed a combined “phase one” budget bill. The bill contained $900 million worth of budget cuts; a great first step in addressing Minnesota’s massive deficit, however, Gov. Dayton vetoed it in record time. This measure would have extended the one-year budget reductions that the DFL majorities and Governor Pawlenty passed at the end of the 2010 session. Many Minnesotans are in a world of hurt and raising taxes will only hurt them further. Our state needs to live within its means, and I am disappointed that in our first chance to start solving the problem was vetoed without any consideration.
CONSTRUCTION RED TAPE
A bill unanimously passed in the Senate Monday, and will help jobs in the residential construction and contracting industry in Minnesota. The current law requires contractors to be certified in lead specialization when remodeling pre-1978 houses. This does not allow enough time for builders and contractors to acquire a permit, resulting in a loss of business and a loss of jobs. I believe one of the best ways to create jobs in Minnesota is to get bureaucratic red tape out of the way of hardworking Minnesotans, and this bipartisan measure does just that.
Governor Dayton will present his fiscal year 2012-13 budget proposal on Tuesday, February 15 and the Minnesota Management and Budget Department will issue its budget forecast on February 28. Both are important actions that will drive the debate at the Capitol and across the state until the budget is balanced. On March 1, with up-to-date numbers in hand, committee chairs will begin setting budgets for the divisions for which they are responsible.
Also next week, look for the Senate to begin hearing bills aimed at reforming the rural preserve program under “Green Acres” tax classification, and the Higher Education Committee will hear a bill that proposes to temporarily freeze tuition rates at MnSCU and University of Minnesota campuses.
State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen encourages and appreciates constituent input, and can be reached at 651-297-8063, by mail at 123 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org