Bonding bill, taxes at issue in Legislature

Published 6:30 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

Column: Capitol Comments, by Shannon Savick

As we move closer to start of the next legislative session in late February, I wanted to give you an update on a few of this year’s major priorities at the Capitol. Last session, we passed a balanced budget with investments in job creation and education. Since then, Minnesota’s economy has continued to improve. In fact, it looks like we’ll have a budget surplus of around $1 billion. But there are still plenty of things to work on.

First, we need to do more to help the businesses that have driven our economy forward over the past year. This session, I’ll be supporting two bills that will repeal the farm equipment repair tax and the warehouse services tax.

Shannon Savick

Shannon Savick

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Each of these was passed as part of the larger tax bill that boosted funding for cities, counties and schools. This new aid meant millions in new aid for our communities. Unfortunately, the bill also included these two taxes. This session, with a budget surplus, we need to make the repeal of these taxes one of our top priorities.

Next, we need to pass a bonding bill that invests in communities across the state. Last year, the House worked to put together a list of infrastructure improvement projects that could improve our communities and put people to work. That bill included several projects in our district.

This year, I worked with the Capital Investment Committee to ensure those projects would get included once again. I’m happy to report that the Blazing Star Trail, the Fountain Lake cleanup and Riverland Community College improvements will all be included in the House proposal that gets sent to the governor.

These projects will mean local constructions jobs in the short term as well as great improvements to our way of life in the long term.

Finally, we’re likely to be taking up a bill to increase the state minimum wage. At $6.15, Minnesota has one of the lowest rates in the country. Even working full time, people earning that wage are left to depend on public support programs like food stamps and subsidized housing. The cost of those programs is then passed on to every taxpayer in Minnesota. By raising the minimum wage, we’ll be reducing the cost of those programs and making workers more financially independent.

Throughout the session, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on each of these priorities, as well as several other bills I’ll be working on. Until then, please feel free to contact me with any ideas or concerns you may have.

If you’re dealing with propane issues, please remember to use the new hot line (800-657-3504) to get all your questions answered. It was just announced that Minnesota will be receiving $15 million in new low-income heating assistance funds and payments will be increased from $500 to $1,000. I encourage you to call the hotline to learn more about how to apply for assistance in our area.


Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, is the state representative for House District 27A.