SD10 Newsletter Week11 - Minnesota Senate.pdf

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					                                     Week 11

                           Town Hall Update!
Unfortunately, the Town Hall scheduled for March 25th at Somethin’s Brewin’ in Fergus
Falls has been canceled. March 25th is a key deadline date for bills and as such I need
       to be present for committee in St. Paul on that Friday. I apologize for the
 cancelation; at the time the Town Hall was set the deadlines had yet to be decided.

                 Office: 651-296-1323 / District Phone: 218-849-9471
             State Employee Pension Contribution
A bill introduced this week by Senator Hoffman
and Senator Parry would shift 3 percent of
responsibility for taxpayer-paid pensions to
government employees, including legislators and
all state and local government staff except
public safety employees like firefighters and
police. This bill brings government employee
pension participation more in line with
contributions made by private-sector workers,
but does not change current funding levels or
affect collective bargaining, which is already set
by statute.

The measure would relieve local government
obligations to pensions, freeing up funds to be
used for needs like local property tax relief.
Current taxpayer’s liability to pay for
government employee pensions is unsustainable.
We need to live within our means, and this bill
will save the state’s General Fund approximately
$50 million in the first biennium.

                                  Budget Update
    This week, the Senate Agriculture, Judiciary and Environment committees released
    budget bills and began public hearings. Other committees will release budgets next
     week in anticipation of Republican leaders’ aggressive March 25 date for finance
     committees to report appropriations bills, working toward an on-time legislative
                                    conclusion in May.

      Targets released last week set the overall budget spending level at roughly $34
      billion for 2012-13, protecting funding levels for education, health and human
          services and public safety. The plan recognizes the core constitutional
    requirements of state government, but scales back on previously projected growth
                                       and spending.
                                        Tax Bill Pays Back Delayed
                                        Refunds, Brings Conformity
                                           A unanimous vote of the Minnesota Senate

         Trivia!                     advanced a measure this week to bring the state’s
                                       individual income and corporate franchise taxes
                                         into conformity with recent federal changes,
     Are you ready for March
           Madness?!                    including an extension of the higher education
                                        tuition deduction, educator classroom expense
1. Who holds the record for the       deduction, and enhanced deduction of charitable
most points scored in the 20th          donations of computers. The bill also extends
century?                              some provisions relating to business depreciation
    a. Terrence Jones                and expensing. The measure also fulfills the state’s
    b. Michael Jordan                 commitment to pay back state previously delayed
    c. Taylor Battle                      corporate franchise and sales tax refunds to
    d. Glen Rice                      Minnesota businesses. The bill (House File 79) has
                                       the support of revenue department officials and
2. Which nickname was given to        Governor Dayton has indicated that he will sign it
Michigan State players Morris                              into law.
Peterson, Mateen Cleaves, and
Charlie Bell?
    a. Spartans
    b. Flintstones
    c. Gladiators
    d. Titans

3. Which team scored over 100
points in a NCAA title game in the
1990’s?                                       Tax Incidence Study
    a. Badgers
    b. Longhorns                                  Questioned
    c. Running Rebels
                                          A biennial state Revenue Department study
    d. Hoosiers
                                       released Wednesday and reported widely in the
4. Who was the first undefeated       media contains a variety of pieces of information
national champion?                       that are useful to policymakers, but you will
    a. San Francisco in 1956           likely see use of the numbers as support for the
    b. Wisconsin in 1943
                                         argument that some don’t pay their share in
                                           taxes. One thing that’s overlooked is that
    c. Kentucky in 1949
                                      federal tax burden is not included in the analysis
    d. Indiana in 1953                      and some lawmakers think it should be.
                                       However, the report does show progressivity in
   Answers                            Minnesota’s income tax system: taxpayers in the
    1.   D                             top 10 percent of households pay 54 percent of
    2.   B                               the individual income tax, while those in the
    3.   C                                bottom 10 percent actually have a negative
    4.   A                                 burden due to refundable tax credits. The
                                                figures are based on 2008 taxes.
                                  Radio Interviews!
I have been on multiple radio stations this week being interviewed about the Pension Shift Bill
I introduced on Monday. Here are the interviews hosted online. Feel free to listen and let me
                                     know your feedback!

 “Inside the Senate” with Senators Gretchen Hoffman and Dave Thompson, hosted by Senator
                                         Mike Parry

                               AM1100 The Flag with Chris Berg

                                KFGO with Mike McFeely

                           Photo ID Making Progress
Two bills to improve the integrity of voting are making their way through Senate committees,
   and after several hours of public input, they have been amended to allow more types of
identification -- including ID issued by any accredited institution of higher education, permit
vouching for individuals in care facilities, and allow voters in residential facilities or shelters
 for battered women to use a state-issued photo ID from a previous residence in conjunction
 with a certification of residence from their facility in order to register on Election Day. Both
                         measures will continue to have public hearings.

       Community Paramedics Will Help Rural Residents
A bill to allow experienced paramedics to become certified by the Emergency Medical Services
      Regulatory Board as “community paramedics” has passed the Senate with unanimous
 bipartisan support. The measure would allow paramedics to be certified after 120 additional
hours of training. As community health workers, they could provide a new avenue for citizens
 to access health care, and prevent the inappropriate use of ambulance services and hospital
 emergency department resources. Under the proposal, certain EMS personnel could provide
   health services and advanced levels of care for prevention, emergency care, evaluation,
   triage, disease management and referrals. Such procedures would be covered by Medical

  The plan would benefit rural Minnesota, whose citizens are sometimes at a disadvantage to
receive the right care. The goal is to provide additional care with already existing health care
resources. This is a real step toward reform for our aging rural population. We need to address
     this trend throughout our smaller, outstate communities. The Minnesota Ambulance
 Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and other health care stakeholders helped create
                                         this legislation.
                         Census & Redistricting

New census numbers will begin the
once-a-decade redistricting process
that adjusts the boundaries of all eight
congressional districts and most of the
state's 201 legislative districts by
population. The target population for
each congressional district is about

The Minnesota State Demographer says
the 4th, 5th and the 7th Congressional
Districts have to pick up the most
population in order to ensure that
every      district      has      equal
representation. The 2nd and 6th
Congressional districts have to give up
population. The State Demographer
released the population for each
Minnesota Senate District. You can
access that information here:
Or the Congressional District figures

                         Coming Up Next Week
         Lawmakers will face long hours of hearings as committees roll out
      detailed government funding spreadsheets and take testimony next week
                   to meet the March 25 appropriations deadline.

      On Monday, the Committee on State Government Innovation and Veterans
      will begin hearings on SF 813, the public employees’ pension shift bill and
         SF 812, a salary reduction for state employees and elected officials.
        The Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee will hear SF 858 on
        Wednesday. That measure explores federal health coverage mandate
       compliance requirements, and seeks to repeal certain mandated health

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