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Legislative Update: Kathy Lohmer on the Second Amendment, Health Care and Taxes

Lohmer writes about Gov. Mark Dayton's State of the State address, the second amendment, health care and the various committees she is working on in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Editor’s Note: The following is a news release from Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater). Lohmer represents the Stillwater area in Minnesota House District 39B.

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On Wednesday, Governor Dayton gave his State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature.

I had the honor of bringing John Schiltz, owner of the Lake Elmo Inn, as my guest to the State of the State address. It’s small businesses like the Lake Elmo Inn that will be hurt under Governor Dayton’s tax plan.

John shared his concerns with me that raising the minimum wage might force him to cut employees. He also said that we need to have a more competitive business climate in Minnesota so that businesses locate and grow here and not in Wisconsin.

I’m surprised Governor Dayton took credit for the budget that turned a $6.2 billion deficit into a $2.5 billion surplus. Republicans passed that budget and Governor Dayton previously stated that he felt forced into signing it. I also find it curious that Governor Dayton never brought up his sales tax expansion or the business-to-business tax in his address.

Another area of concern for me is the fact that Governor Dayton is kicking the can down the road to pay back education shift until 2017. Republicans had a bill last year to pay it all down, but unfortunately the governor vetoed it.

Ultimately, I don’t think Governor Dayton’s approach is right for our state. What is balanced about offering only $1 in cuts to $16 in tax increases?

I fear Minnesota will become the land of 10,000 taxes under the governor’s proposal. 

Second Amendment 

As a member of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, I spent quite a bit of time this week in hearings on gun control legislation.

I was inspired by the multitude of citizens who took time off from their daily lives to come to the Capitol to show their support for the Second Amendment. Attendance was so large that two overflow rooms were needed to accommodate all our citizens visiting the Capitol. 

Although I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe it was important for me to listen to those who had opposing views.

I found it very disrespectful when DFL members of the committee stood up and left the committee when pro-Second Amendment citizens had their turn to testify. It was also very concerning to me that a DFL member who was chief authoring one of the gun control bills was not even present to testify for her bill and had a lobbyist testify in her place.

In all of the committee hearings I’ve been a part of for over two years now, I have never seen that happen before. 

Healthcare Exchange 

This week, Health and Human Services Policy Committee heard testimony relating to implementation of the healthcare exchange.

I’m concerned that the DFL leadership is pushing this legislation too quickly without having enough time to answer needed questions relating to costs for the state and affordability for citizens.

On party-line votes, the DFL majority defeated our amendments to require that the healthcare exchange be subject to oversight and accountable to taxpayers. Healthcare is an issue that is very personal to me and I plan to fight this legislation every step of the way. 

Senator Karin Housley and I will be doing listening sessions in the district soon. Stay tuned for details.

As always, I am interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Kathy.Lohmer@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-4244. 

Paul Randall February 10, 2013 at 01:14 PM
I get sick and tired of politicians who lack the integrity to simply stand up and make arguments for what they believe, based on history and fact, without bashing the work of others. It seems that some are willing only to continue partisan politics and lack the depth and moral fiber to develop their own plans based on their own intellect, sharing the result across the isle to come to some working solution that will move the state (and country) forward.
Randy Marsh February 10, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Paul, Lohmer needs someone to write "L" and "R" on her hands, so I'm not sure what you could possibly expect from the woman. She simply does what she is told by those who understand and follow GOP philosophy and she only asks how high.
Edward February 10, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Paul, I'm also tired of the politicking. Lohmer hides behind it, and it gives her a pass on actually coming up with solutions, putting her head down, and working hard toward implementing them. Not very Minnesotan of her, is it? Also, using the Lake Elmo Inn owner as her shield? Well, he shows his true stripes when it comes to giving a decent living wage to his workers while charging high prices for the meals down there. I won't be patronizing his establishment again.
Susan February 10, 2013 at 08:00 PM
"It seems that some are willing only to continue partisan politics and lack the depth and moral fiber to develop their own plans based on their own intellect, sharing the result across the isle to come to some working solution that will move the state (and country) forward." I could not agree more. Thanks, Paul, your comment highlights the hypocrisy of the statements made by those running for office last year vs. their comments and actions taken after being elected to said office.
Susan February 10, 2013 at 08:29 PM
One other thing to note; I think it's shocking that the Republicans will speak and fight against a minimum wage increase and then, in the next breath, speak of the 47% who are takers. People on minimum wage are usually in the 47%. They make so little that they don't have enough to pay taxes and often need those "handouts" that the Republicans rail against. Maybe those advocating that we not make any changes to minimum wage should look at how this, as a whole, affects us all. How are they not adding to the problem they say needs to be fixed, by advocating for the job creators to keep getting richer, instead of paying their employees a living wage that would then translate into more revenue AND less handouts? Ms. Lohmer, I do hope you can see how ridiculous this is...
Susan February 10, 2013 at 09:10 PM
"A significant body of academic research has found that raising the minimum wage does not result in job losses even during hard economic times. There are at least five different academic studies focusing on increases to the minimum wage—including increases ranging from 7 percent to 12.3 percent made during periods of high unemployment—that find an increase in the minimum wage has no significant effect on employment levels. The results are likely because the boost in demand and reduction in turnover provided by a minimum wage counteracts the higher wage costs. Similarly, a simple analysis of increases to the minimum wage on the state level, even during periods of state unemployment rates above 8 percent, shows that the minimum wage does not kill jobs. Indeed the states in our simple analysis had job growth slightly above the national average. [...] All the studies came to the same conclusion—that raising the minimum wage had no effect on employment. While increasing the minimum wage likely has no effect on job creation, it does have a tangible benefit for workers. Eight states increased their minimum wage at the beginning of 2012, providing extra benefits to 1.4 million workers. More than half of the workers directly affected by a minimum wage increase, as well as more than half who would be indirectly affected, are women, meaning increasing the wage provides help to a segment of the population that already faces significant disadvantages in the workplace."

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