Once again our state legislators failed to compromise on a transportation plan and a public infrastructure bill for our state. In Houston and Fillmore Counties alone, there are over 50 bridges and hundreds of miles of roadways that are in dire need of repair or replacement. Failing roads and bridges are not only dangerous, they cost individuals hundreds of dollars a year in additional auto repairs. Funding our transportation system should be one of government’s main jobs.
Our legislators also failed to compromise on a public infrastructure package, or bonding bill. This bill could have funded the Lanesboro dam project, the Chatfield Arts Center, a recreational trail through Fillmore County, and several important water quality projects throughout Minnesota. Instead, our legislators punted and left town. It would have created jobs and provided much important economic development to our region.
I am disappointed in our legislators, especially since they are now passing the blame and calling for a redo special session. The one positive thing that came out of St. Paul this year was a tax reform bill. Thankfully this was passed without the major corporate tax cuts that were proposed by our state representative in 2015. Instead, it will provide modest, but much needed relief to college students and some farmers. Unfortunately it didn’t tackle the larger issues of state government’s failure to fund our counties, towns, and schools, resulting in higher property taxes. Also, and without much foresight, this tax bill included a $32 million tax cut for the tobacco industry, which will turn more of our kids onto cigarettes and tobacco, and cost taxpayers even more in the long run with higher health care costs.
If I am elected to the Minnesota House I will work for better roads and bridges, more property tax relief for local governments and policies that support rural jobs and healthy families. I would not stand for last minute back room deals that ignore the needs of average working people.