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Letter: Supplemental budget proposals under review

By District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake

With a projected $1.2 billion budget surplus, Minnesota lawmakers will need to approve a supplemental budget in 2014 that allocates this unexpected windfall. The Minnesota House began this process recently by approving legislation that eliminates three tax increases that were approved by Governor Dayton and legislative Democrats last year.

The repeal of the sales taxes on warehousing and storage, farm equipment repair and telecommunications machinery would save Minnesotans an estimated $300 million.

Last year I raised my concerns with these tax increases on the House floor and told the majority party these bills were detrimental to farms and businesses, to no avail. Now this year the majority believes it’s a good idea this year to do away with these laws? These taxes were a clear case of government overreach and never should have taken place to begin with.

I expect the House to continue its budget revisions in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Governor Dayton has also shared how he would distribute the $1.2 billion surplus. Along with eliminating some of the tax increases he signed into law last year, the governor proposes enacting federal tax conformity, putting money in budget reserves, and increasing spending by $162 million.

One spending area does receive my support. I’m glad the governor recognized people with disabilities and noted that their caregivers deserve more funding. I’ve been advocating for their needs for a long time, so I’m hopeful House and Senate leadership will also make them a top priority this year.