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Legislators hold town meeting
Governor Mark Dayton’s budget proposal, education, sales tax reform, DNR land acquisitions, health care and gun control were a few of the topics that two legislators discussed at a town meeting on Saturday, Feb. 23 in the Montgomery Public Library.
Hosting the meeting were Senator Kevin Dahle (DFL, Northfield) and State Representative David Bly (DFL, Northfield) who were on a whirlwind of town meetings on Saturday, having just finished a “lively” discussion in Lonsdale.
The two gave an update on themselves, as well as the committees they serve on, and some of the issues that are in the Legislature. One topic the legislators discussed was Governor Mark Dayton’s “bold” budget. Dahle said the Senate has been dissecting it, and said there has been a structural imbalance in regard to the state relying too much on property taxes and how sales, property and income taxes need to be balanced out.
Dahle said they believe there is too much reliance on property taxes, and how there are three plans that are being discussed in relation to the budget. He said Dayton’s plan includes structural balance, paying back the school shift (where the state withheld payments to schools), improving roads, lowering college tuition, and funding all day every day kindergarten. A second idea is to keep the budget as-is, a status quo, while a third proposition is a compromise between the two plans.
Dahle added that the governor has proposed a one-time property tax rebate, but he said the rebate has to happen more often than that.
“We need more property tax reform, more than a one time fix,” he said. “We’re trying to get in as much as we can.”
Comments and discussion from the audience came about agriculture land donated to the MN Department of Natural Resources, the future of MN Care insurance and how the future MN Health Exchange insurance will affect it, finding common ground between the two parties, and privacy rights with social media and job searches.
Dahle also shared that he had put in a bond request for a new Emergency Public Safety building on behalf of Montgomery City Administrator Steve Helget.
Dave King brought up the controversial subject of gun control and asked how the legislators stood on the issue. Bly said that subject was a “point of contention” at the Lonsdale Town Meeting, held the same day before Montgomery’s.
He also shared that each House has had meetings to gather input on the issue. He said there was a lot of discussion on preserving the Second Amendment, but acknowledged a bigger problem would be to have both sides not being able to talk about it.
“Clearly, there is a problem that we need to solve, but it is a bigger problem if we can’t discuss or solve the issue,” he said.
Senator Kevin Dahle
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Capitol, Room 317
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
Representative David Bly
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155