Jeff Howe 13a State Representative
As a small business owner myself, I understand the amount of hard work and determination it takes to make it through to the next year. I don't believe we should be burdening business owners with unfunded mandates and regulations interfering with everyday free market transactions. Job providers are the key to preserving Minnesota as one of the best states in the nation to live. If elected, I will work to make sure over regulation does not interrupt that.
Important issues Jeff wants to tackle
We do not have a revenue problem in Minnesota. We have a spending problem. I want to make sure every hard earned tax dollar that the government receives is spent wisely. If a working Minnesota family has to make a budget so the bills get paid. There is no reason why the State Government can't to that either. I plan to focus on meaningful tax reform and to make sure St. Paul doesn't leave more debt for our children.
The citizens of District 13A can decide what they need from their elected representatives on their own. My years in local government have shown me how corrosive these laws can be on our small town communities. As your representative, I will make it a priority to ensure more power is given back to the local elected officials where it belongs.
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To the editor,
Gov. Mark Dayton’s new budget proposal contains a $3.7 billion tax hike and a $2.7 billion state spending increase.
The tax increases in the governor’s budget proposal would cost all of us. Everything from auto repairs to over-the-counter medication, Internet purchases and haircuts would be taxed. Cigarettes would cost 94 cents more per pack. Clothing items of $100 or more also would be taxed.
If broadening the sales tax were used as a measure to eliminate our high state income tax and make Minnesota a tax-friendly state, it may make some sense. Without reducing the income tax, these regressive taxes will add to a tax burden under which many Minnesotans are already struggling. We just saw our paychecks shrink when the feds allowed payroll taxes to increase.
State officials indicate the governor’s proposed taxes would cost Minnesota’s business owners more than $1.5 billion, causing some to either close their doors or move out of state. Governors in other states already are saying they would step up their game in recruiting Minnesota businesses to relocate. The businesses which stay likely would pass along price increases to consumers, a lose-lose situation.
It disappoints me the governor could be proposing the largest tax increase and most expensive budget in state history but still can’t find a way to pay off our schools. A top priority should be repaying K-12 debt, but the governor’s bill does not resolve this issue until 2017.
This all comes after the governor vetoed a bill Republicans authored last year to accelerate K-12 repayment. Now, the first bill introduced this session by the new House majority would pay off the school debt. We in the minority attempted to fast-track that legislation, but were voted down. It has been collecting dust ever since, without so much as a legislative hearing.
There has also been discussion on a bill that would raise health-insurance costs by collecting up to 3.5 percent of premiums to fund a government super agency to control our entire health-insurance market. In addition to the extra costs to consumers, there are serious data-privacy questions yet to be answered. The problem is, this super agency of seven appointed bureaucrats who would answer to no one and has access to spend taxpayer dollars at its discretion, without oversight.
This is not the basic health care exchange, it reaches far beyond the Obamacare mandates and sets a troubling precedent for our free-market choices. I will keep you posted as things unfold at the Capitol. As always, I welcome your thoughts on the issues.
Rep. Jeff Howe
Transportation is a constitutional mandate to our legislature. We need to make transportation a priority in our budget. We must integrate our roads, rail and transit into a system. Our current transportation system is not integrated and operates as separate entities. Having served as an Army Transportation Officer for over 20 years with assignments all over the world gives me a unique understanding of what is takes to operate and maintain a transportation system. I have served on the Transportation Finance committee and will be an advocate or transportation funding that serves our entire state to include our rural area.
Another legislative constitutional mandate is Education. The school funding formula is very complex and difficult to understand. This must change. I believe we should completely overhaul the current system and return to a system that is simple, balanced and fair. Minneapolis and St. Paul should not receive $3000 per student more in funding than rural schools. We need to have a fair and balanced approach that provides for all students throughout Minnesota. I have talked to Superintendents, Principles, School Teachers and parents in an effort to find a workable solution.
Minnesota should be considered veteran friendly state but it is not. When Service Members retire out of the Service they receive a list of veteran friendly states. Our great state of Minnesota is not among them. We must change that and bring those highly trained, motivated veterans to Minnesota.