Weather Forecast


Denny McNamara Viewpoint: Disaster relief is on its way; taxes should be repealed in 2014

On Sept. 9, lawmakers returned to the State Capitol to take part in a one-day special session called by Gov. Mark Dayton in order to deal with disaster relief.

I was pleased to support this effort. Just one year ago, our area was leveled with strong winds and was included in part of a 19 county, $168 million disaster relief package. We all remember how thousands of trees were snapped and caused significant damage to our neighborhoods. Now other areas of the state are dealing with costs and cleanup from storms and flooding in late June.

At times like this, it's important for lawmakers to put their differences aside and help out those residents and communities that are struggling, and that's exactly what we did last Monday. This disaster relief package gives the 18 counties that were declared a federal disaster area the funds they were looking for.

It was unfortunate we were not able to fix the Democrats' tax increase problems during special session. Even Gov. Dayton said this was a mistake and needs to be addressed.

Prior to special session, the governor and legislative leadership discussed eliminating three tax increases that had been enacted by the Democrats during the 2013 regular legislative session: warehousing and storage taxes, a tax on telecommunications devices, and forcing farmers to pay an equipment repair tax. But they could not come to an agreement on how to deal with these problems, so all of them were left off the special session agenda and we chose to focus solely on disaster relief.

I know there is plenty of bipartisan support to repeal these tax increases, and I look forward to eliminating them during the 2014 session.

McNamara represents House District 54B, which includes part of Cottage Grove, Denmark Township, Afton, Hastings and Nininger Township.