Managing Expectations as the 2014 Legislative Session Begins
ST. PAUL, MINN. – The 2014 Legislative Session convened on Tuesday with the state in fiscally stronger shape than it was a year ago. In three days, the Minnesota Management and Budget office will release the February economic forecast which is expected to be on par with the November forecast which showed an $825 million budget surplus. In the days and weeks leading up to session there have been many calls for ways to spend this surplus, but Sen. Roger Reinert advises moving with caution.
“We all need to manage our expectations. This session is starting late, so we need to focus on a narrow agenda. It’s important to keep in mind that our state needs to strengthen our budget reserves. Without a ‘rainy day fund’ in a few years time we could be back to running billion dollar deficits. Now is the time to save, so that when our state is facing another deficit we can handle it without making draconian decisions or government shutdowns,” said Sen. Reinert (DFL-Duluth).
Sen. Reinert does support one suggestion for what to do with the surplus – the repeal of the business to business (B2B) taxes. He argues the warehousing taxes are especially challenging for the Port of Duluth.
“While the passage of the 2013 tax bill was a step in the right direction, I do strongly support repeal of the B2B taxes. I believe these taxes put us at an economic disadvantage in border towns like Duluth. Let’s not scare away faithful Minnesota businesses by making them pay extra sales taxes that just don’t make good sense,” said Sen. Reinert.
In addition to the repeal of the B2B taxes, Sen. Reinert considers several bonding projects in the Duluth area to be priorities. Those projects include Spirit Mountain, Wade Stadium, the NorShor Theatre and planning money for the Lake Superior Zoo.
Sen. Reinert welcomes your questions and comments; you can contact him at Sen.Roger.Reinert@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4188.