Monthly Archive for May, 2011

End of session report from Rep. Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara

The 2011 Legislative Session has ended, and unfortunately, our projected $5.1 billion budget deficit has not been eliminated.

The Legislature began the year promising residents that state government should live within its means no different than folks are doing at home and at work. Governor Dayton promise everyone he wanted to raise taxes on Minnesotans.

To date, both sides have kept their promise.

At the beginning of the year, the Legislature proposed a nearly $32 billion budget, which is what Minnesota spent in the previous budget. Governor Dayton responded with a budget including a multi-billion dollar tax increase.

Several weeks ago, the Legislature responded with a compromise move to the middle of both proposals by passing a balanced budget of $34 billion that does not raise taxes.

In response, Governor Dayton then moved his proposed budget down to $35.8 billion and insisted the Legislature pass a $1.8 billion tax increase on Minnesotans. By a vote of 73-60, the Minnesota House opposed his new proposal, but that hasn’t stopped the Governor from criticizing the Legislature for not compromising further and for refusing to raise taxes on Minnesotans.

I expect Governor Dayton will call a special session in the next few weeks to address this issue. Like my colleagues, I’m ready to keep working hard and find a permanent solution to this problem. I won’t be taking per diem during this special session.

But I’m hopeful Governor Dayton recognizes that the Legislature has made a significant compromise offer. Not only would a budget of this size provide $2 billion in new revenue for state government programs, but it could happen without needing to raise anyone’s taxes.

As always, keep in touch. Feel free to call or email.

Representative Denny McNamara
Dist.57B

Letter to the editor: Balancing the budget and creating jobs

NOTE:This letter to the editor was published in the Hastings Star Gazette on May 5, 2011

To the editor,

With less than three weeks to go in the 2011 Legislative Session, lawmakers will soon be putting the finishing touches on our top two priorities for the year: balancing the state’s budget by living within our means, and putting more people to work.

Earlier this session we passed, and Governor Dayton signed into law, a bill that will create more job opportunities for Minnesota’s workforce by streamlining Minnesota’s business permitting process. Over the years, Minnesota missed out on many business expansions due to our outdated permitting process, because entrepreneurs who were ready to create jobs didn’t want to wait a year or more for the state to give them the go-ahead.

Our new law states business permits need to be approved within 150 days, showing that our state is open for business and eager to grow jobs. In addition, we’ve also told our business leaders who worried about Minnesota raising business tax rates to rest easy, as the Minnesota House will oppose any tax increase proposals that would cut their ability to create future jobs.

Instead of waiting until the very last minute as we’ve done in previous years, the Minnesota House approved its budget balancing bills in early April and will soon have compromise proposals completed with the Minnesota Senate. As chair of the House Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, I am working hard with the Dayton administration and his commissioners to resolve the differences we have and hope to have our bill presented to the Governor soon.

Until our budget bill negotiations have been completed with Governor Dayton and the Senate, we will continue debating policy bills over the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions or comments about any budget, job, or policy proposal we are discussing in the Minnesota House, I’d love to hear from you. Please call me at work at 651-296-3135 or at home at 651-437-2597, or email me at rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Denny McNamara
State representative

(Source: http://www.hastingsstargazette.com/event/article/id/24814/group/Opinion/)

Letter to the editor: Need more like Kriesel at Capitol

NOTE:This letter to the editor was published in the South Washington County Bulletin on May 14, 2011

Need more like Kriesel at Capitol

I was surprised and amazed at the recent letter (“District deserves more from Kriesel,” April 6) written by William Labovitch, outreach director for the Senate District 57 DFL. The letter is just another classic example of a hyper-partisan mentality that has been standard operating procedure for too long in St. Paul.

Rep. John Kriesel ran on a platform of changing how government does business. That doesn’t mean authoring a bill just to author a bill. That type of publish-or-perish approach to governance and budgeting is a major reason our state faces another mammoth budget deficit.

Labovitch clearly believes that only the “elite” should represent us in St. Paul. Apparently, the Senate District 57 DFL officer believes that serving our country and working in blue collar jobs makes you unfit to hold public office. Sadly, this is also another prime example of the reason why we are where we are with our state budget. I, for one, think we need more everyday people like Kriesel working for us in St. Paul.

Kriesel has authored legislation dealing with public safety, one of the core functions for our government. He has also authored legislation that would protect South Washington County Schools from having its reserve accounts raided by the state (a bill relating to education and one that is co-authored in the Senate by Sen. Katie Sieben), as well as legislation to help the city of Newport deal with flooding issues (another example of Kriesel and Sieben working together). These are real issues dealing specifically with areas Kriesel was elected to represent.

Kriesel has done a wonderful job so far in his first term and I look forward to seeing him continue to work for us in St. Paul.

Tamera Chapman
Hastings

(Source: http://www.swcbulletin.com/event/article/id/18240/)

Interesting facts about SD57

The MN Legislative Coordinating Commission’s Geographic Information Services (LCC-GIS) tracks some interesting information on our legislative districts.

For instance:

  • HD 57A has a population of 40,488 and the district measures 34 sq miles.
  • HD 57B has a population of 41,159 and the district measures 103 sq miles.
  • The average population density of the district is 535.6 people per square mile.
  • In the district 18.5% of the population falls between 35 to 44 years of age, 14.5% is age 25 to 34, and 10.6% is over 62 years of age.
  • 94.7% of the population lists their race as “White”.
  • There are 26,110 households in the district. Of those, 76.3% are families and 19.1% are persons living alone.
  • Of residents over 15 years of age, 25.1% have never been married.
  • Of residents over 5 years of age, 92.4% speak English in the home.
  • About 2.4% of the residents are foreign born persons.
  • About 82% of workers over 16 drive alone to work.
  • 1.5% of workers use public transportation or a taxi to get to work.
  • 2.9% of workers work at home.

You can read more SD57 facts on the LCC-GIS website: http://www.gis.leg.mn/php/profiles/senate.php?District=57

(Data Provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, State Legislative District Summary Files – Census of Population and Housing – 2000)

Letter to the editor: Stadium plan good for state

NOTE:This letter to the editor was published in the South Washington County Bulletin on May 9, 2011

Stadium plan good for state

After reading a recent letter to the editor regarding Rep. John Kriesel’s support of a Minnesota Vikings stadium, I felt another perspective may show that Kriesel’s support of this bill is beneficial to the state of Minnesota.

It is easy to say bailing out millionaire players and billionaire owners is a bad decision in these economic times. Are we doing that or are we increasing tax revenues for state and local governments? A report from Convention, Sports, and Leisure states that a new Vikings stadium would generate $26 million in tax revenue annually. Based on this number and the $300 million investment the state is proposing, it would take approximately 11 1/2 years to cover the initial investment. Typically new stadiums carry between a 30- and 40-year lease. Keep in mind that the $300 million is raised by an income tax on those millionaire players, sports apparel/memorabilia tax, Vikings lottery funds, stadium naming rights, sales tax on luxury suites in the stadium and a sales tax on digital video equipment to facilitate satellite downloads.

So the players, fans and season ticket holders of the Vikings will generate the funds to cover the state’s portion. Don’t forget the Vikings ownership kicking in a third of the cost. Having two-thirds of the stadium paid for by user fees and ownership shows no burden to taxpayers unless they decide to contribute.

What about other events at the stadium? How much revenue does a Final Four generate for the state and local governments? A Super Bowl will be brought to Minnesota if this stadium is built. How about the workforce impact? A projection of 13,000 jobs is estimated if the stadium is built. Once the stadium is built 3,400 full- and part-time jobs will be created.

If we lose the Vikings there will never be a way to fill the lost revenue to the state. We invest in a stadium that is used year-round and in return we get tax revenue for the people of Minnesota. My thanks to Kriesel for supporting a bill that invests in Minnesota’s future.

Bill Thurmes
Cottage Grove

(Source: http://www.swcbulletin.com/event/article/id/18188/group/Opinion/)