Representative Jim Davnie newsletter March 17, 2010

Dear Neighbors,

The pace of activity remains high at the legislature this week.  Friday is our second deadline for bills to pass through committees in both houses in order to still be considered alive.  That means lots of additional hearings may go late into the evening.

Sunday the Governor returned to the state long enough to sign, with significant line-item vetoes, the bonding bill before departing again for Florida.  Higher education took the brunt of the Governor’s cuts, including proposed renovations at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  I’m particularly disappointed with his veto of monies to renovate the University’s biological station at Lake Itasca. This had the passionate support of many constituents and is a unique asset that badly needs updating.

Transit also took a hit, both in the metro and outstate. While I’m happy we moved fast on this job creation bill but it’s unfortunate that the Governor line-itemed roughly a third of the projects. By many estimates this means that 6-7,000 fewer jobs will be created by the bill.

While closing the budget deficit and getting Minnesotans back to work dominates the session other issues related to moving Minnesota forward are also alive this session. I have been working with Hennepin County on legislation allowing them to become a partner (on a limited basis) with a company to construct a wind farm at their facility in Medina.  By being able to join in a partnership the project would then be eligible for federal incentives for alternative energy.  The County would be able to generate and sell power making the county more environmentally and economically self-sustainable.   They would not be able to buy more energy than they used at their facilities in the previous year.

Additionally I’m a co-author on a bill put together by Representative Sheldon Johnson from St. Paul.  It encourages energy conservation in commercial and industrial property by allowing the two cities to use available federal funds to create a loan program for energy efficiency upgrades by building owners.   This would be an expansion of existing programs for residential buildings.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. My door is always open.

Sincerely,
Representative Jim Davnie

Video Updates and other Announcements

This week on Capitol Report we discussed the tax cut bill that passed through tax committee yesterday and also spent some time on the bonding bill that the Governor signed. Check out the video by following this link: 

Town Halls

Please join me and State Senator Patricia Ray Torres for a town hall meeting next Wednesday, March 24 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. It will be held at Sibley Park- 1900 40th St. East, Minneapolis. We look forward to hearing questions, suggestions, and ideas on the budget and other issues facing the Legislature this session.

Why you should fill out your 2010 Census

Census information affects the numbers of seats Minnesota occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. And people from many walks of life use census data to advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, prevent diseases, research markets, and locate pools of skilled workers and more.

When you do the math, it’s easy to see what an accurate count of residents can do for your community. Better infrastructure. More services. A brighter tomorrow for everyone. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like:
·      Hospitals
·      Job training centers
·      Schools
·      Senior centers
·      Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
·      Emergency services

Free Filing
All taxpayers making less than $57,000 can visit www.IRS.gov ( http://www.irs.gov/ ) and use the industry’s top tax preparation software for free. Users get the step-by-step help they need to prepare, complete and file federal tax returns online – at no cost. The program is made possible through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance – a group of industry-leading tax software providers. Since 2003, the Free File program has delivered free tax services to more than 25 million people.

Not only is the program completely free and secure, but taxpayers who use Free File with direct deposit may receive refunds in as little 10 days.

Free File is a vital service for the American taxpayer. We encourage you to help spread the word so we can serve as many taxpayers as possible. Please issue a press release, post a link to www.IRS.gov ( http://www.irs.gov/ ) on your website, and use all of your communications tools to make sure your constituents are aware of this free tax service.

To learn more, please get in touch or visit www.freefilealliance.org.

Gas Tax Rebate

When filing your tax return you may qualify for a motor fuel tax credit based on your income level. To do so you must be older than 18, not be declared as a dependent on someone else’s return, and your income must not exceed a certain amount. The amount is:
-$33,220 for married couples or widows
-$22,730 if single
-$27,980 if filing as the head of a household

Jim  Davnie

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