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Senator Terri Bonoff
While we were able to pass a strong tax bill and a prudent supplemental budget, we did not pass a bonding bill. The final proposal included funding for Highway 12, which is desperately needed, and support for the infrastructure needs at the University and MnSCU. I expect the Governor to call us back to get this important work done. Lesson learned: Lawmakers should not leave important work to the last fifteen minutes of session. That is not what the public expects! Will send out another update with the details if there is a Special Session.
As many of you saw, there was not a bonding bill passed. I was disappointed this did not happen. Several weeks ago the Senate DFL released their bonding bill, and it failed by one vote. In the last week of the Session the House released their bonding bill, and it failed by 12 votes. In the last hours of Session the compromise was reached, and the House passed the bill and then sent it to the Senate Unfortunately, the bill was missing the agreed to language authorizing counties to invest up to 20% of the cost of local rail projects (currently law allows for 10%). This would have given Hennepin County the ability to make up the State’s share for the Southwest Light Rail project, and eliminate the need for the state to provide money for it. The $900,000,000 federal match is at stake, as is the opportunity to have a comprehensive transit system to serve the next generation and beyond. (more…)
Many of you have seen the news by now that the Minnesota Legislature adjourned on Sunday night at midnight and it wasn’t a pretty ending. The chaotic last few hours were not the institution’s finest. Minnesotans deserve better – business as usual is no longer acceptable. I will be joining many of my colleagues next session pushing for reforms to ensure transparency and accessibility to the process.
While session was cut short this year due to construction, we still had 10 weeks to work on issues facing Minnesota. But the process and human nature pushed decisions on the larger bills off until the final moments. On the last day of session, we were presented with a Tax bill to quickly review and vote on. Last session, the House and the Senate both passed tax bills and appointed conference committees to work out the differences but time ran out and no tax bill was passed in 2015. This session, that same conference committee was expected to take up where it left off. That committee did not meet in earnest until the last week of this session and we saw their final product on the very last day. The final tax bill included tax credits for those paying off student loans, tax relief for farmers and small businesses and a little increased funding for city and county governments to offset property taxes. One area of concern, is a provision that was stuck in at the last minute that took the inflationary increase off of the tobacco tax. I can think of better ways we could have spent $32 million than tax breaks for tobacco companies. But, I believe the good outweighed the bad and I voted yes on the final bill. (more…)
The 2016 legislative session ended in chaos at midnight on Sunday, with the House Republican Majority failing to reach compromises on top priorities for the session – a long-term transportation plan and a bonding bill.
On Sunday, a bipartisan tax relief package passed that would provide approximately $800 million in tax cuts for the next three years. Highlights of the bill include an expansion of the child care tax credit, increased tax credits for veterans, property tax relief for small businesses, and a new student loan tax credit.
The House also passed a supplemental budget bill. Here is the break down on spending for each budget area: (more…)
“Today, on the 9th anniversary of the last federal minimum wage increase, the DFL is reminding Republican endorsed candidates Stewart Mills III and Jason Lewis that minimum wage jobs are not just “stepping stones” for “unskilled young persons”, as both candidates wrongly believe. It is widely known that the average minimum wage worker is 35 years old, and the majority of minimum wage earners are over 20 years old.
“Mills III and Lewis seem to be taking a page out of the playbook of the presidential candidate they support – Donald Trump, who recently kicked off a debate by saying American wages were “too high” and that is what’s keeping the U.S. from competing in the global economy. The standard bearer of the Republican Party couldn’t be more wrong. (more…)
120 days until people can begin to vote by no excuse absentee ballot, Sept. 23
166 days until Election Day, Nov. 8
U.S. House of Representatives
In 2016 U.S. House races, Minnesota’s Rs will be playing D, MinnPost
Open Minnesota House seat takeover opportunity for Democrats, Roll Call
Tom Emmer endorses Jason Lewis in 2nd District battle, Pioneer Press
Clinton has a new weapon against Trump: Elizabeth Warren, Washington Post
Governor Dayton on the legislative session and work that remains, MPR
From primaries to sentencing reform: Five things that actually got done at the Minnesota Legislature in 2016, MinnPost
OUR OPINION: Stubborn lawmakers dash hopes in St. Paul, Grand Forks Herald
Minnesota legislature ends with business left on the table, Valley News
No bonding bill, no state funding for local projects, WDIO (more…)
The 2016 legislative session has wrapped up. Frankly, the results were a mixed bag as it relates to the future of our state. While we were able to make some incremental progress on some important items, on many others the legislature was, unfortunately, not able to reach a compromise. With adjournment for the two-year biennium behind us, I’d like to highlight some of these items.
Utilizing our $900 million-plus budget surplus, we were able to pass some tax cuts which, while modest, will help Minnesotans and their families. I was proud to have my Working Family Tax Credit heard in the House Tax Committee, and then see expansion of this tax credit enacted into law, and extended to young single workers. Also included was the groundbreaking Student Loan Tax Credit which will provide relief from the student debt crisis, and veterans will see a tax cut with an expansion of the Past Military Service Credit. (more…)
In the last week, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has walked back from his pledge to release his tax returns, vowed to slash taxes for those at the top (like himself), been mocked for pretending to be his own publicist, refused to address his well-documented history of misogyny, insulted one of our country’s most important allies, and sat back as his campaign called their selection of a white supremacist delegate a “database error.” This is just the latest in a long history of backpedaling, half-truths and lies from Trump. With each day on the campaign trail, Donald Trump gives voters more examples of his recklessness, lack of judgment and unstable temperament. It’s obvious that he’s unfit to be commander in chief.
These are just a few of the many reasons why Democrats will head into the general election energized as we fight for the values and priorities of the American people. As we move closer to our convention and the election in November, it’s clearer than ever we must elect a Democrat as our 45th president. (more…)
Although the 2016 Legislative Session is behind us, in the past few weeks, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and other Republicans made numerous false and misleading claims about transit. Let’s keep the truth in focus as we head into the election season.
Consider this: Speaker Daudt has asserted that transit – light rail in particular – isn’t a good investment and we should invest only in roads and bridges. However, investing in transit is essential to an efficient, reliable and strong network of roads and bridges. Speaker Daudt’s short-sighted argument doesn’t recognize that investing in transit, it: (1) increases the efficiency of our roads and bridges by reducing congestion, (2) provides people more choice in how they commute and travel, and (3) helps fuel economic growth.
Other cities are already realizing the benefits of transit. Read this article in Politico Magazine today, “The Train That Saved Denver: The car-choked city overcame regional distrust to build a major transit system that is remaking the urban core and the suburbs, too.”
CORRECTING THE RECORD: REPUBLICANS FALSE TRANSIT CLAIMS
Below is a list of three false claims by Speaker Daudt and Republicans and the facts that show how erroneous they are: (more…)