Woodbury council gets Capitol updateThere is no question this legislative session will be focused on the state’s financial situation.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
There is no question this legislative session will be focused on the state’s financial situation.
“We’re going to see some fireworks, some action here,” said Tom Poul, a government relations attorney with Messerli and Kramer.
Poul spoke to Woodbury City Council members as well as Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury, and Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, on what the Municipal Legislative Commission identified as key priorities for the 2013 legislative session.
Key areas are the $1.1 billion deficit identified in December, property tax reform, health care exchange, education and same sex marriage.
One of the top priorities for MLC is to support local government policies that promote fairness and equity.
Poul said the property tax system in Minnesota is one of the most complicated in the nation.
He added that Gov. Mark Dayton will work on balancing property taxes, arguing they are too high, compared to income tax and sales tax, which are too low.
“He’s committed to making some changes in sales tax,” Poul said, adding that the possibility of adding sales tax to online purchases including digital buys, as well as service tax, is not off the table.
But part of the challenge is the “overly complicated” property tax system, he said, with 55 different classifications that the governor wants to bring down to four.
Woodbury is one of the suburbs that suffers from higher property taxes than greater Minnesota, Poul said, based on numbers from the Department of Revenue.
He said the MLC is advocating for a policy that focuses on the individual’s income and home, versus a more general system.
Other key issues the state Legislature will see this year include transportation and job growth, he said.
“I think we’re going to see a pretty healthy debate on all of these issues,” Poul said.