Thursday, April 2, 2009

House bonding bill moves; Tax Commission report out

Yesterday at the Capitol

House bonding bill clears another hurdle

One more stop for the House bonding bill - the House floor. The House Ways and Means Committee passed HF 855 yesterday afternoon on a voice vote. One amendment was added that assists St. Vincent, a small town located near the flood plains on the Red River Valley. No projects were removed. As a reminder, the bill contain $67.9 million for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, $30 million in HEAPR and the 5 vetoed projects from last session. Author Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL- St. Paul, said that the committee tried to work within the set $200 million House target. In fact, she said $35,000 was cut from the bill to keep the level exactly at $200 million. Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, chair of Ways and Means said, "That (level) does meet the debt service cap."

You may recall, the Senate has already approved its version of the bill. If the House version passes the floor, a conference committee will be held to work out the differences between the two bills.

Tax Commission recommendation heard in House

The Governor's 21st Century Tax Reform Commission reported their recommendations to the House Tax committee yesterday, which include repealing the corporate income tax and offering businesses other tax credits and exemptions in order to make Minnesota more competitive. In order to pay for this reform, the Commission has recommended raising cigarette taxes by as much as $1 a pack and expanding the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax to items like clothing, baby products and textbooks. The results of the Commission's recommendation can be found in HF 2263, being carried by Tax Chair, Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington. The Commission's full report can be found here.

At the Capitol:

Legislative schedules are available for the House and Senate.

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