Over the last year our area has been found to be hard hit by PFC's in our water supply. The 3M settlement, though not as much as we hoped for, will provide the necessary funding for filtration systems, continued private and public well testing and improved environmental impact issues we will face possibly for decades to come. I co-authored legislation to keep this funding in our area and being used for our affected areas (see HF 3660). Clean drinking water and quality natural resources are a huge concern for me. We need to ensure that our families have safe drinking water.
It is important for us to do critical review of government policies, procedures and entities to ensure that our tax dollars are being applied in the most responsible and valuable way. We need to ensure that MNLARS and other state programs work for the people that provide valuable services and for the people who rely on these services. There are many government programs that would gain from a review of a benefit vs. cost analysis to provide taxpayers with assurance that money is being spent wisely to maintain important services while getting taxpayers, that fund these programs get the most "bang for the buck".
I would like to focus on making Minnesota a more small business friendly state by reducing taxes while maintaining a quality level of employee pay and benefits. Reduction in the tax burden on all working families is also needed. By lowering or abolishing capital gains tax, marriage tax, death and inheritance tax, more money could be kept by taxpayers. The federal tax laws filter down to Minnesotans and we need to have tax conformity to alleviate undo tax complications for our citizens. If there is a projected surplus we need to analyze how to return that money to the taxpayers in a tax rebate or look ahead to save for future expenditures. We should remove the burden on our senior citizens by abolishing Minnesota state tax on social security income for lower and median income seniors. Retiring veterans returning to MN after their service should also not have their pensions subject to state taxes.
Our public safety officials and first responders need to be provided with the tools and support they need to be successful. Last year I worked very hard on increasing the fines for distracted driving and penalties for vehicle fatalities related to distracted driving. I will continue to push for support of this legislation. Our local law enforcement and first responders as well as those from neighboring communities will benefit from the advanced training they will receive in the future at the HERO center in Cottage Grove.
We need to work with local school administrators, elected officials and families to continue and expand the success of our children through a quality education. Making sure our children are safe in school is a huge concern for everyone. Combating the threat to our children is multifaceted and should include threat assessment teams in schools that can work with local law enforcement and in and out of school mental health professionals.
Addiction and Recovery
As addiction continues to impact our communities we need to focus on providing people the necessary services to find quality recovery programs to overcome the cycle of addiction that is impacting families across the state. This also is a problem with a multi-faceted solution which requires action by pharmaceutical companies, mental health agencies and prescribing physicians all working together.