Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 Church Directory
Rep. Jim Newberger

Rep. Jim Newberger (15 B) Legislative Update

The session has been moving quickly thanks to our shorter-than-normal legislative schedule. The first committee deadline has come and gone, and we've already passed several bills, including a tax repeal bill to undo some of the damaging taxes passed in 2013. Some updates from the last week:

5% Campaign
 
Last week, Republicans urged Democrats to put politics aside and quickly pass HF2408, better known as the 5% Campaign bill. The 5% Campaign is a bipartisan effort to increase funding for those who care for some of Minnesota's most vulnerable citizens. Home and community-based care workers who care for those with developmental disabilities are underpaid, and many have to work a second job just to make ends meet. This makes it nearly impossible to attract and keep talented workers in this important field. 
 
In its current form, the 5% Campaign bill has more than 70 co-authors--a majority--meaning we could pass it tomorrow. It may even receive unanimous support. Republicans motioned last week to move the bill from its current committee to the General Register, a necessary step before it can be brought to the House floor. That motion passed 120-10, another indication of the strong bipartisan support for this bill.
 
We could pass this bill tomorrow without any controversy, and without any opposition. We could send a message that we're prioritizing those who care for some of Minnesota's most vulnerable citizens, and put aside partisan politics to do it.
 
I will continue to support efforts to bring the 5% Campaign bill to the floor free of controversy and partisan politics. We owe it to this community to put politics aside and show this community that they are a priority.
 
Tax Bill Passed
 
On Friday, the House voted 126-2 to pass a tax repeal bill to undo just some of the Democrat mistakes from last session. The bill included the repeal of the three deeply unpopular business-to-business taxes passed by Democrats and signed into law by the Governor last session.
 
The bill also included federal tax conformity, which restored many (but not all) tax breaks available under the federal tax code to Minnesotans.
 
If you have already filed your taxes, the Department of Revenue has said they will review all tax returns to ensure you receive the tax benefits you are entitled to. However, yesterday the Revenue Commissioner acknowledged this may result in a delay for your tax return.
 
If you have not yet filed your taxes, and you know you are eligible for some of the newly-restored tax breaks following the passage of this tax bill, the Department of Revenue has advised you to wait until April 3 to file your taxes. The Department of Revenue software is not yet up to date, and filing before April 3 could result in a delayed tax return.
 
If you know you do not qualify for these tax breaks, you can file your taxes at any time before April 15, 2014.
 
I voted in favor of this bill, but don't think it goes far enough. With a $1.2 billion surplus, Minnesotans deserve a lot more than the $443 million in tax "relief" they received from this tax bill. There are more damaging tax increases that were passed last session that we could take off the books. We also could have retroactively eliminated the marriage penalty for 2013.
 
I will continue to support efforts to put more surplus money back where it belongs: in the pockets of hardworking Minnesotans. You know how to spend this money better than the government.
 
Last week, the Public Safety Committee approved a bill that would provide $5 million to local governments to help train first responders to fight oil disasters like the one we saw in North Dakota following a train derailment.
 
With millions of gallons of oil and other flammable materials moving on Minnesota's railways annually, it's important that first responders are trained how to respond in these situations in the event of an emergency.
 
My door is always open, and I welcome your input, feedback, comments, and questions. I'm here to be your voice at the legislature, and your input helps me better represent our community. Please don't hesitate to call or email me at 651-296-2451 or rep.jim.newberger@house.mn.