Representative had good 1st session

Published 9:36 am Friday, June 26, 2015

Rep. Peggy Bennett was our speaker at Rotary on Wednesday. She gave an overview of the session that just ended and talked about the bipartisan nature of bills that were passed this secession. With a Republican House and a Democratic Senate people had to work together and defend their positions on issues and be willing to compromise when possible to get bills passed. They could not just throw out a one sentence talking point like during campaigns. On issues like state-run preschool they had to look to see if any studies show this program would close the learning gap, and there are not any right now. They also had to look at what taking 20 percent of the kids out of day care centers would do to their budgets. Many said they were just barely making it now and the lost income could close them down. The compromise plan gives scholarships to kids in need of preschool that cannot afford it. Sometimes compromise doesn’t work and this happened with road funding. Democrats wanted a percentage gas tax that would increase the tax as gas prices go up. Tax would increase by 14 to 16 cents per gallon at today’s prices but if gas goes back over $3 per gallon like it has in the past the tax would increase to 24 or 25 cents per gallon. This is a regressive tax that would hit lower-income people right when higher gas prices had already cut their disposable income. At the same time those who can afford alternate fuel vehicles, often with government subsidies, would escape paying for road improvements. Republicans wanted to use some of the surplus as well as taxes on auto parts and other auto-related expenses that all vehicles owners have to pay to fund road work. They will need to work this out next session. Keep up the good work, Peggy.


John Forman

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Albert Lea