At the Capitol - Week of April 16, 2018

At the Capitol - Week of April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018

BUDGET, TAX DEBATE BEGINS IN EARNEST

The final pieces are being assembled for debate on the supplemental budget and tax proposals. One of the biggest differences of opinion will be over the total amount of tax relief versus spending. The Governor proposes to use two-thirds of the projected $329 million budget surplus for additional spending and zero for tax relief, leaving $122 million on bottom line.

The House proposal, released last week, proposes using $107 million of budget surplus for tax relief that will help Minnesota take advantage of the sweeping federal tax reform passed in December. The House proposed additional spending of $120 million and leaves $75 million on bottom line. Among the investments they propose: $101 million for transportation including roads and bridges; $15 million for jobs and energy including grant money for broadband development. The various budget committees will now get to work putting together their supplemental budget bills.

The Senate is expected to release its budget targets within the next two weeks.

With a $329 million budget surplus, Minnesota businesses should not have a tax increase as Governor Dayton proposes. Instead, we believe the federal tax reform presents an opportunity – and need – to rightsize the state's tax system for the benefit of employers and employees by enacting pro-growth tax reforms. We rank in the TOP FIVE in too many tax categories. Now is the time to start on an incremental path of reducing individual income and corporate tax rates benefiting all Minnesotans and improving our tax climate.

This is a critical week to connect with your legislators. The final committee deadline is April 20, and the Legislature faces a May 21 constitutional adjournment. You also have an opportunity to join your colleagues on April 18 during the Minnesota Chamber's Business Day at the Capitol. Register today

In the news: Citing rare opportunity, Minnesota group hopes 2018 brings change to tax structure (Grand Forks Herald)

In the news: Minnesota, Winona chambers seek tax relief, deregulation for area businesses (Winona Daily News)

WEEKLY 'AT THE CAPITOL' VIDEO
Click here for a report from Tony Kwilas, director of environmental policy.

TRANSPORTATION
Constitutional amendment (SF 3837, Newman, R-Hutchinson): WE SUPPORT

The Minnesota Chamber is working with a broad group of stakeholders that supports dedicating 100% of auto parts sales taxes to transportation through a constitutional amendment. This bill is advancing through Senate committees; it has not been heard in the House yet.

Become engaged in the Vote Yes 4 Roads campaign. Encourage your legislators to give Minnesotans the opportunity to fix our crumbling roads and deficient bridges to make our transportation system safer and less congested.

In the news: Minnesota lawmakers consider constitutional amendment to lock in road funds (Watchdog.org)

EDUCATION/WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Child-care provider grants (HF 3605, Baker, R-Willmar/SF 3316, Utke, R-Park Rapids): WE SUPPORT

This bill appropriates money for grants to increase the supply of child care in communities with a documented shortage of providers. Recipients must supply a 50-percent match. The Senate bill was referred to the Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee. The House bill passed the Health and Human Services Reform Committee and was referred to the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee, where it will likely be included in omnibus legislation.

Child-care regulations (HF 3403, Peterson, R-Lakeville/SF 3310, Weber): WE SUPPORT
There is a lack of quality and affordable child-care providers in nearly every community across the state. This bill would reduce redundant insurance paperwork and improve transparency of state regulations for providers. The House bill passed the Health and Human Services Reform Committee and was sent to the House floor. The Senate bill passed the Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee and is awaiting floor action.

ENVIRONMENT
Environmental permitting (HF 3120, Fabian, R-Roseau/SF 2705, Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria): WE SUPPORT

This bill contains several provisions supported by the Minnesota Chamber to further streamline environmental review and permitting at state agencies. It makes changes to the wetland mitigation law, establishes a peer review for new water quality standards, requires legislative approval for water quality fee increases and creates a 16-year permit for wastewater treatment plants. The Senate version passed the Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee and held over for possible inclusion in the omnibus environment finance bill. The House version also has passed all committees and is being held over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill.

ELECTIONS
June primary election: (HF 1393, Fenton, R-Woodbury/SF 1264, Housley, R-Stillwater): WE SUPPORT

Minnesota's statewide primary election is currently held in August, which results in a very low turnout. Moving the primary to June would allow more time for meaningful examination of the candidates and the issues leading up to the general election. As a result, the Legislature will likely be more representative of the entire population. The legislation was heard last year in Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee and is awaiting floor action.

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April 9