Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The legislative session began with everyone saying that jobs and securing a more stable economy for Minnesota were the top priorities. But the Legislature has failed to keep this promise.
Too much time has been spent on divisive constitutional amendments. Whether one is in favor or opposed to the two amendments (an anti-marriage and Voter ID amendment) that will be on the ballot this November, the Constitution should not be used as a tool to circumvent the legislative process for partisan gain.
I support all the elements of the proposed business property tax reduction except for the fact that it is not paid for. Our projected debt and deficits for the next biennium are already at $3.5 billion. Enacting this property tax cut for businesses without offsetting budget cuts would tack on an additional $145 million to our deficit — and billions more in the future.
Middle class taxpayers have been the losers this session and last with the elimination of the Market Value Homestead Credit. Homeowners saw a $71 million property tax increase, but the majority party’s tax bill only contained $4 million in relief for homeowners this year. I co-authored a bill to restore the Homestead Credit and voted for the bill four times in committee this session, but was unable to get the credit restored.
The Vikings stadium debate has remained an unresolved issue for ten years. I believed it was time to end the debate and vote for or against building a new Vikings stadium. I voted in favor of the Vikings bill because it does not use general fund revenue, taxes, or state bonding authority. It was not the best possible bill. The Vikings should have been required to pay for a larger portion of construction costs and gaming was not the best possible funding mechanism, but it was the only bill before me.
I will continue to advocate for legislation that supports the creation of jobs and strengthens the middle class. Thank you again for the honor of serving you in the legislature.