Monthly Archive for April, 2015

Denny McNamara: Capitol Update

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 04/30/2015

Hello from the State Capitol,

The Minnesota House has approved legislation that would positively impact millions of hardworking, middle-class Minnesotans.

Our omnibus tax bill provides $2 billion in tax relief to middle-class families, college students, aging adults, veterans, farmers and job creators & innovators. The most significant part of this package is a new Minnesota personal or dependent tax exemption that could save a middle-class family of four more than $500 over the next two years.

Other highlights include the phasing out of the social security tax, which would help more than 366,000 aging adults who are living on fixed incomes. Veterans would also receive relief as their military pay and pensions would no longer be subject to the income tax.

Families would also benefit through the expansion of the education deduction to include pre-school expenses, and nearly 110,000 college students would qualify for a new tax credit for principal and interest loan payments on their student loans, providing them with some savings on their higher education costs.

The family budgets of Minnesotans have not grown nearly as fast as the budget of state government over the past two years, and this bill looks to provide our residents with tax relief. I’m pleased this legislation was approved with bipartisan support in the House and am hopeful by the end of session that we can convince the governor and the Senate to prioritize the pocketbooks of the middle class.

The House also approved our environment finance bill which I helped craft. Included are increased funding for Soil and Water Conservation districts to fund more “on the ground” projects, and a repeal of the current ‘Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Trailer Sticker/Decal’ law, and replacing it with a requirement that the boat owner sign an affirmation stating they will abide by AIS laws.

Moving forward, I also hope to work closely with Governor Dayton on his buffer idea, which would require perennially rooted vegetation adjacent to ditches. It is my hope we will adopt a plan that is flexible and recognizes that different sites should be treated differently. By increasing the use of buffers we can reduce pollution runoff and improve wildlife habitats.

Earlier this week I had a chance to sit down with the governor and his cabinet to discuss incorporating large scale water retention projects, which have the potential to accomplish many of the governor’s goals, and they liked the idea. These projects would definitely help clear up Minnesota waters, including the Mississippi River basin, and help our area and communities upstream address this problem. I look forward to working with Governor Dayton on this topic and hope for a resolution before session ends.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

Rep Denny McNamara’s Capitol Update: I think Governor Dayton’s proposal is too expensive

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 04/13/2015

Hello from the State Capitol,

On April 8, Governor Mark Dayton gave his State of the State Address on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The governor tends to use this speech to outline his vision for the upcoming session. With only six weeks remaining in the 2015 session, he basically used his time to reiterate a number of visions he had previously shared with lawmakers and the public.

Several days ago, the governor unveiled an $842 million bonding bill which would fund a number of statewide construction projects, and he urged the legislature to approve it.

I think Governor Dayton’s proposal is too expensive, and feel we can take care of many of our bonding needs next session.

The governor also continued his push for increased transportation funding, and still wants to raise taxes and fees by more than $9 billion to do it. This plan would inevitably lead to drivers paying a minimum of 16-cents per gallon more for gasoline.

To me, the House Republican approach is a better way. We’re focusing on roads and bridge funding needs, and we’d like to reallocate funds that are already being collected for a number of transportation related purposes – items such as the sales taxes on auto parts and the sales tax on rental cars – and dedicate those funds as new road and bridge revenue. Doing this would raise $7 billion over ten years for our transportation infrastructure.

In the coming weeks, the governor and House and Senate will begin to hash out their budget differences and work on a compromise plan that is acceptable to all sides. I will keep you posted on their progress.

Along these lines, my main focus lately has been crafting an environment and natural resources spending budget within the Minnesota House. It is nearing completion and we will begin debate on it in the House environment finance committee in the coming days.

As things begin to heat up in the Minnesota House, I strongly encourage you to share your input. Contact me any time at 651-296-3135 or by email at rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn.

Keep in touch,
Denny

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-3135
rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn