Tricounty News

Week in Review, Jan. 25

The action around the State Capitol this week centered on the release of Governor Dayton’s budget proposal. The Governor’s budget plan was presented in several committees this week to allow a full discussion around individual provisions. These hearings will continue over the next weeks in lead-up to the February budget forecast which will provide a more detailed picture of the state’s short- and long-term fiscal outlook.

Following the release of the forecast, both the House and Senate will begin work on producing budget proposals of their own. Hearings will be held in the various committees in order to publically vet all spending and policy proposals prior to final passage by both legislative chambers. Negotiations between the legislature and the governor will begin once spending bills reach the conference committee stage. These meetings consist of members from the House and Senate who work to finalize all spending and policy issues. The final stage of the budget process calls for re-passage of each spending bill by the House and Senate and a signature from the governor.

Key provisions of Governor Dayton’s initial budget proposal include:

An expansion of the sales tax to include clothing priced at over $100 and services such as car repairs, haircuts, over-the–counter drugs, and more. The governor also proposes to drop the overall sales tax rate to 5.5 percent. Expanding the sales tax to cover business to business sales. A property tax rebate for all homeowners of $500. Increased spending levels for K-12 education, higher education, health and human services, and several other areas of state government. Two of the larger spending increases would be in higher education (10 percent boost) and approximately
9 percent in health and human services.

Other happenings:

While the release of the governor’s budget took center stage this week, there were other issues of note that were brought to the forefront in committee hearings. Some of those include:

S.F. 1 (Lourey), the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the health care exchange, was heard in the Judiciary Committee this week and was referred for further review to the Health and Human Services Committee. There was significant debate in committee regarding data privacy concerns and discussion will likely continue on the legislation as it moves through the process. The Senate Tax Committee heard S.F. 40 (Gazelka) which would make changes to Minnesota’s estate tax provisions. This legislation would bring Minnesota’s deduction in line with that of federal law.

Senator Michelle Fischbach encourages and appreciates constituent input and can be reached by phone at (651) 296-2084, by mail to G-15 State Office Building /
St. Paul, MN 55155 or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .