Hello from Saint Paul. It's been a busy but productive first two weeks of session. The House is off to a quick start, having already passed the first bill of 2014. Last week, I joined my colleagues in unanimously approving $20 million in addition funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Rep. Jim Newberger (15 B)
The program was nearly out of funding due to the cold temperatures this winter and a propane shortage that caused a large price increase that impacted many Minnesota families. This measure will provide peace of mind to Minnesotans who need it most during this unusually harsh winter.
2014 Legislative Survey
My 2014 survey is now online. Your input helps me better represent our area, and I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions. Please take a few minutes to fill it out online by clicking here. I value your opinion, and am grateful for you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Synthetic Drug Bill Moves On
Last session I had the honor of being one of two Republicans appointed to a select committee on synthetic drugs. Our committee worked together to come up with a number of recommendations to combat the ever-increasing synthetic drug use across Minnesota. This week, a bill that included some of those recommendations passed the House Public Safety Committee. The bill would expand the definition of synthetic drugs, giving law enforcement additional tools to combat chemists who are able to change chemical strains in synthetic drugs to get around existing state law. The bill has strong bipartisan support, and I anticipate will come to the floor in the next several weeks.
One of my top priorities this session is repealing the burdensome tax increases passed by Democrats last session. I was proud to stand up for taxpayers and vote against each and every one of the $2.4 billion in tax increases Democrats passed on the backs of hardworking Minnesotans.
Since session ended last May, Democrats have changed their tune. They now want to repeal the taxes they voted to enact last session. The House Tax Committee heard a number of tax repeal bills this week. I'm a co-author on HF2368, HF1973, HF1968, and HF1939, all of which focus on repealing some or all of the taxes from last session.
Recently the House voted to repeal all three business-to-business taxes, and restore targeted tax credits by conforming Minnesota's tax code with the federal code. This is a good start, but there are still more taxes that could be repealed using the $1.2 billion surplus that belongs in your pocket -- not in a government vault waiting to be spent. The repeal bill must pass the Senate, a move that isn't expected until at least two weeks from now.
I will continue looking out for you, the hardworking taxpayer fighting bigger government and higher taxes this session, and plan to keep you updated on the progress on repealing these taxes as session continues.
If you or a group you are a part of is visiting the Capitol this session and would like to schedule a meeting, please contact my office at 651.296.2451 or email email@example.com. I'm continually thankful for the trust you've put in me to be your representative at the legislature, and will continue working hard for you in St. Paul.