Local Legislatures Give Update On 2018 Session At Eggs & Issues Panel
“It is a perfect opportunity for us to hear from the leaders of the area about all of the different issues that they care about; that’s how things get done at the capitol,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, District 9.
Put on by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, today’s Eggs & Issues event started off by diving right into the big topic of tax conformity.
“We want to make sure that individuals aren’t paying more taxes and we want to make sure businesses aren’t paying more taxes,” Sen. Gazelka said. “That will be the challenge, so we are working with the governor right now, and at this point, he wants a $1.4 billion dollar tax increase over the next 4 years, and we want to be revenue neutral or less taxes.”
Legislators from both the House and the Senate were present at the event sharing their thoughts.
“We absolutely have to work on this issue, we have to make sure we are in alignment with the federal government and that we get it right,” said Rep. Josh Heintzeman, District 10A.
Another hot topic discussed was the issue of school safety and how legislatures are working hard to make sure students in Minnesota schools are safe.
“That has to do with mental health dollars and making sure we have resources that we can identify kids that are in trouble and are doing some of the things that are happening around the county,” Sen. Gazelka said. “We need to make sure our school buildings are safer, we want to provide money for risk assessments so they can have professionals come in and say, ‘this is where you are vulnerable,’ and we want to explore – how do we help our local schools with their ability to choose what they need to do.”
The morning also included ongoing conversations of the workforce shortage and the effect on affordable housing.
“I don’t necessarily think that’s an affordable housing issue, it’s just a housing issue,” said Sen. Carrie Ruud, District 10. “I want to talk about workforce housing and not just affordable housing, and if we broaden that dialogue, I think we will have a better solution and answers.”
With over one hundred members of the local business community in attendance, the legislatures will take back information as the 2018 session continues.