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Local legislators talk recent legislation, upcoming sessions

Area legislators stopped by the Park Rapids Enterprise office last week to talk about new legislation passed during the 2013 session and preview upcoming sessions.

Dist. 2A Rep. Roger Erickson, DFL-Baudette, said he was proud that the Legislature fully funded all-day, every day kindergarten.

“Before, many districts were offering it to compete but had to pay,” he said.

The next step is to make sure that all three and four year olds are prepared for school by funding early childhood education, Erickson said.

The school payment shifts should also be paid back soon, he said.

Dist. 2B Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, and Dist. 31A Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, also stopped in the Enterprise office last week.

They thought the last session needs a “do-over.”

“The tax increases are hurting Minnesota families,” Daudt said.

He specifically disagrees with the farm equipment repair tax and warehousing tax.

Erickson also agreed that some of the taxes need to be re-looked at. The business to business taxes have a lot of inconsistencies that need fixing, he said.

The Legislature needs to figure out where to make up the revenue if any of the taxes are repealed, though, Erickson said.

Green and Daudt thought the warehousing tax should be repealed during an upcoming special session but it might wait until 2014.

“With small businesses making long term planning decisions now in anticipation of the tax, we can’t afford to wait,” Green said.

Green and Daudt said they think the tax will send away more people from the state to look for work elsewhere.

They both have heard from constituents that want to see less government involvement.

Legislators were all concerned about Aquatic Invasive Species and are looking to address funding in the 2014 session.

“It’s disappointing that the Legacy committee didn’t approve funding,” Erickson said.

In northern Minnesota, AIS is a major concern and awareness is key, he said.

“I do think that people are becoming more aware,” he added.

Green also thinks part of the Legacy money should go toward AIS and wants to work on that issue in the 2014 session.

A special session is set for Monday, Sept. 9 to deal with disaster relief but no other issues will be addressed, according to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Meanwhile, legislators will continue talking with constituents and getting feedback to bring to the 2014 session.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561