VIEWPOINT: Legislative tax, bonding proposals are worrisome
We're nearing the end of the 2013 legislative session in St. Paul, but we still face some tough decisions on spending over the next month. I would like to provide you with a general overview from the Legislature as well as some specific issues I have been working on for you this year.
I am first and foremost concerned that proposals this year to raise taxes and fees by nearly $3 billion, coupled with the bonding proposals that increase our debt, create a deadly combination that will jeopardize our economic progress. Therefore, you will not find me voting in support of most of the omnibus bills that come to the House floor this session.
I continue working with the Department of Labor and Industry regarding workers' compensation advisory council recommendations. In addition, I serve on the committees that deal with the potential minimum wage reforms and the union/labor legislation currently moving forward.
More specific to Woodbury, I authored an amendment with Rep. JoAnn Ward to ensure the radiation bed for cancer patients will be up and running by 2014 at Woodwinds (our only city hospital). They also voiced concerns on nurse staffing ratios, and I voted to protect Woodwinds Hospital against this mandate, which would increase cost and create a managerial nightmare.
On the Crosswinds school issue, I have made it clear to concerned parents that I will vote in favor of ISD 833 "getting" the school if I have the opportunity to do so. Please understand that the next issue - how the school will be used - will be a local school board matter.
My focus has always been, and continues to be, on creating a good business climate in the state and making government work better for all of us. Therefore, I have introduced a few other bills this session. HF 14 would require a three-fifths majority of the Legislature to approve future ballot initiatives, HF 269 would reduce the number of individuals one voter can "vouch for" from 15 to three.
Given the recent news about the failure to fund the Vikings stadium through e-pull tabs, HF 1722 would require Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) to limit borrowing for building if revenue forecasts fall short. Finally, HF 1671 would eliminate state elected officials' health insurance and retirement benefits. I have co-authored many other bills with colleagues from both sides of the aisle. You can find more information by visiting www.house.mn/53B.
Thank you to those who completed my 2013 legislative survey either online or through the mail. The results are on my above mentioned website. I appreciate all of your feedback, and rest assured, I have voiced your opinions in St. Paul. I hope you will continue contacting me as I make important votes in the coming weeks.
As always, I am honored to serve you at Capitol.
Kieffer represents House District 53B in the Legislature