It was a busy week here at the Capitol. I enjoyed meeting with many constituents from all over the district. Residents from the Milk Producers Association, the Minnesota Farmers Union, the Minnesota Builders Association and Independent County Bankers all stopped by to say hello and talk about the issues that are important to them.

I also appreciated the opportunity to meet with other members from southeastern Minnesota, Gov. Dayton and his commissioners to discuss industrial sand mining.

There has been a great deal of citizen activity surrounding this issue in our part of the state, and it is important that we continue discussions to ensure that we are protecting the health and well-being of our citizens, natural resources, infrastructure and small communities, while still encouraging job growth and economic development opportunities.

In addition to meetings, committees continued to hear overviews, budget requests and legislation. Below are a few highlights from committees last week.

Budget garnering attention

Governor Dayton recently released his FY 2014-15 budget proposals. The governor's proposals are gaining a lot of attention both statewide and nationally.

Below are a few links to articles by the Star Tribune and two from The Wall Street Journal regarding income tax reform, the proposed income tax expansion to Minnesota's snowbirds and proposed business-to-business sales tax expansion:

Bargaining agreements reached

The State Department and Veterans Division acted on the state employee collective bargaining agreements reached between Minnesota Management and Budget and the state's employee labor unions.

These proposals include: A 2 percent across-the-board salary increase; step increases for eligible employees (approx. half); and no changes in healthcare insurance premium percentages (0 percent single/15 percent family)

Tax reformed considered

The Tax Reform Division held preliminary hearings on several issues. Two proposals were considered to establish an up-front sales tax exemption for business purchases of capital equipment.

Currently, Minnesota employers are required to pay the sales tax at the time of purchase and apply for a refund later creating a significant amount of paperwork and cash flow problems.

This bipartisan idea has enjoyed broad support, and in fact was passed by the legislature in 2012, though ultimately vetoed in a broader tax bill by the governor.

In touch with Senator Miller

As a resident of Senate District 28, you are key to helping me understand the issues that affect you. Get in touch with me at (651) 269-5649 or