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Legislative Update: Lohmer on Taxes and a Toll on the St. Croix River Crossing

Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater) writes about tax code, Governor Mark Dayton's Budget and charging a toll on the new St. Croix River Crossing.

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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Last week, the House passed a bill to conform Minnesota’s tax code to federal changes made for the 2012 tax year.

When the bill initially passed the House on Feb. 11, it passed unanimously. However, after it came back from the Senate, we discovered 17 pages of controversial language that changed the makeup the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRB) - a completely unrelated provision to tax conformity.

The provision essentially removes citizens from serving on that board and replaces those citizens with politicians. Because this provision had nothing to do with tax conformity and was not heard once in a committee, I voted against this bill. We don’t need Washington-style politics in St. Paul.

Dayton’s Tax Plan

Governor Dayton’s tax plan was on the floor of the House. Because of the myriad of taxes on middle class Minnesotans and businesses, I joined my Republican colleagues in voting to defeat the governor’s proposal. Unfortunately, the House majority voted to keep the bill moving through the committee process.

St. Croix River Crossing Toll

You may have read recently that Governor Dayton’s administration and some DFL legislators (including House Transportation Finance Committee Chairman Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis) are looking to add tolls to the St. Croix River Crossing to raise revenue.

When we worked on finding way to finance the building and maintenance of the bridge in 2012, the idea of adding toll lanes was not part of the equation. Furthermore, the money for the bridge has been allocated and set aside.

I am opposed to imposing tolls on the St. Croix River Crossing – particularly in light of the fact that DFL legislators are seeking to put millions of more taxpayer dollars into Light Rail Transit.

Our transportation dollars should be prioritized and focused on roads, bridges, infrastructure, and bus transportation. You can read the Stillwater Patch’s story and my comments on the issue here.

Legislative Evaluation Assembly Honoree

Last night, I was proud to be named a 2012 LEA Honoree. This group, The Legislative Evaluation Assembly, supports traditional American principles of constitutionalism, limited government, free enterprise, legal and moral order with justice and individual liberty and dignity. I was proud to receive such an award and appreciate the work the group does to keep citizens informed about important legislation.

Constituent Events

Once a month, I’m going to be available for one-on-one listening sessions with constituents in the district.

The first one will be on March 1 at Gorman’s Restaurant (11011 Stillwater Boulevard N., Lake Elmo, MN 55042) from 2-4 p.m. Please call my office at 651-296-9471 to set up an appointment in advance.

Senator Karin Housley is scheduled to be at this first listening session as well.

On Saturday, March 16, I am again hosting a "Day at the Capitol” event.

This is an opportunity to come to the State Office Building and the Capitol and have a chance to sit in a committee room, ask questions, have a light lunch, and an official tour of the Capitol.

Please contact my office to RSVP if you would like to attend (so I am sure to have enough sandwiches and sodas, as well as how many tour guides we will need). The event will begin at 11 a.m.

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.

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