Ron Shimanski :: Minnesota House of Representatives






Where I Stand

2010-06-15

The State Budget
A robust state treasury should come as a result of a robust state economy, not at the expense of a struggling economy.  All Minnesotans are feeling the effects of our current economic situation.  As each and every family and person are having to make difficult decisions, we must apply the same fiscal responsibility in St. Paul. 

Jobs
We have great natural resources in our state.  We have one the most highly educated workforces in the country and a rock solid work ethic.  However, as the economy and business climate have changed over the years we have not made the necessary changes to stay competitive in the global economy.  We have taken steps in the wrong direction.  In 2007 I voted against the Renewable Energy Act.  It was politically popular at the time, but it was a sure job killer.  Since then energy companies have been rushing to comply with the regulations, and along with that has come increasing energy costs that make it difficult to compete here.  We need to streamline our permitting processes, and bring our costs of doing business back down to encourage new companies to come to Minnesota and succeed with us. 

Taxes
As a state, we boast the 3rd highest business tax rate in the industrialized world.  Our business tax comprises only 2.8% of the general fund revenue, yet it stands as one of the greatest barriers to new business development in Minnesota.  It can and should be reduced substantially, immediately.  Our income tax rates have served to drive our snowbirds out of Minnesota completely.  Our tax rates must be brought down to enable those who have worked in Minnesota their whole life to retire in Minnesota for the rest of their life.  Our income tax rates have also turned cities like Sioux Falls, La Crosse, River Falls, and Superior into tax relief shelters for Minnesota workers.  Lastly, we are one of only a few states who still tax military pensions.  Our veterans served our country and we owe it to them to treat them at least the same way nearly every other state in the country treats them.  

Education
Education spending makes up nearly 40% of the state budget.  Steps must be taken to ensure that education dollars are spent wisely and stay in the classroom.  I fully support a voucher system that would allow parents to choose where to send their children with their own tax dollars.  I believe the state has a responsibility to provide access to a quality education for children in Minnesota.  However, I don't believe that the state has a right to a monopoly on education.  We have to stay on the cutting edge of technology in providing education to ensure that our children have the skills and opportunities to succeed in the 21st century. 

Transportation
At the core of a robust economy is its ability to move people and goods freely and efficiently.  Public transportation plans must make economic sense and be viable on their own.  I oppose any expansion of light rail transit that is not economically viable on its own.  We cannot afford to continue building systems that will not sustain themselves.  We simply do not have the money.  96% of Minnesotans get around using our roads and bridges as their primary method of travel.  Transportation dollars should be allocated as such. 

Taxpayer Funded Stadiums
No.  How can we in good conscience make cuts to education, local government aid, and social services and yet find money for stadiums?

Energy
We must repeal the Renewable Energy Act.  I was one of only 10 legislators in the house who saw the economic damage that would result from this bill and voted against it when it was politically unpopular to do so.  It has served to drive up electricity prices and has barred us from purchasing clean affordable energy from our neighbors.  The Renewable Energy Act has driven up the cost of manufacturing and is becoming a real threat to our manufacturing sector jobs.  We also need to end the nuclear energy moratorium.  The senate passed a bill repealing the ban and it failed in the house by only five votes.  This has bipartisan support and mine as well. 

Voting Rights
Our right to vote is the core of our democracy.  We owe it to every voter in Minnesota to ensure that their vote is counted and not canceled out by fraudulent behavior.  Today, you cannot buy a pack of gum with a credit card without having your ID checked.  We must apply the same scrutiny to our most sacred protection as citizens, our right to vote.  I fully support the implementation of photo ID verification when voting.  I fully support ending the practice of same day registration.  To ensure we have fair and accurate elections, the Secretary of State's office must have time to validate voter registrations prior to election day. 

Natural Resources and the Outdoors
Clean air and clean water are not partisan issues.  However, the path we take to get there has become partisan.  It is not enough to catapult bags of gold at the problem and call it a day.  I fully support investing our resources in projects that will directly contribute to clean water and clean air.  Simply transferring land titles from private land owners to the DNR is not the answer.  We must take steps to steer resources to flood mitigation and buffer strips.  We must invest our resources in reclaiming the waters that have been overrun by non-native species and protect those that haven't.  I believe strongly in the spirit of private citizens and their commitment to the same goals.  We need to work more closely with the people of Minnesota who still own 75% of the land, not just the 25% of the land that is owned by the federal and state government. 

 
 

2011 Legislative Session

2011-01-16

The 2011 Legislative session is underway with new leadership in the House, Senate, and the Governor's office.  Everyone is getting attuned to their new responsibilities and opportunities.  It's a new era for state government.  A time to make bold moves to right the course of Minnesota's government, but such changes must come with judicious forethought.  The first legislative bill introductions have been registered with some sound initiatives.  Now comes the committee deliberation to weigh the pro's and con's of the important bills to determine if they are more helpful or cost effective than current law.  I urge everyone to be attentive to what is happening in the Legislature,  follow the bills and committee action, and most importantly, citizens must let their legislators know how they perceive and evaluate the reamifications of the bills being debated.  The new members of the House and Senate are dynamic men and women, here to work for the good of all Minnesotans.  Please encourage them to hold firm to their convictions in service to all.

As I begin my third term, my committee assignments include; Agriculture and Rural Development, Transportation, and vice chair of the Judiciary Committee.  I am also serving on a "Ladder Out of Poverty" task force, with my work group developing financial education guidelines for K-12 students and adults.  As always your questions, input and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

 We are charged with balancing the State budget in this legislative session.  Revenues for the 2012-2013 biennium will increase approximately 5% to $32 Billion.  It is our intent to live within our means, not raise taxes, or continue to spend more than we collect in revenue.  Without structural change in State statutes, we would be on a course to spend over $38 Billion in the next biennium.  Now is the prime opportunity to reform, revamp, review, and restructure how we provide services to the people of Minnesota, to eliminate excessive and redundant bureaucracy in state and local government.  The emphasis should be on returning local control to counties, cities, townships, and school districts.

In all of this process and deliberation, we must be mindful of the need to help or allow the private sector to create the jobs necessary to grow out of this recession.  Long term, sustained economic growth can only be assured through the productivity and employment within the private sector.  The legislature's job should be to remove barriers and obstructions that stall job growth in Minnesota.  Repeatedly, we are told of jobs leaving Minnesota for other states or foreign countries where the costs and burden of doing business are much less than they are here.  We have tremendous resources here, the best of which is our well educated workforce, agricultural production, forests, minerals, water, recreation, and four definitive seasons.  Our workforce and industry leaders are willing, but the bureaucracy impedes our efficient development of these resources.  The Federal government also compounds this problem.  Corporate taxes, Environmental Protection Agency rules and restrictions as well as labor laws and other federal interventions, meant to protect us, drive up our costs and diminish any technological or competitive advantage we may have over producers around the globe.  In this global economy, America and Minnesota should lead in productivity and prosperity.  It is up to us to bring about the changes needed to make it happen!  But the voters and citizens have to back us up, to help persuade and convince those reluctant or resistant to change, that we need to release the productive potential within us all.  Let us all do our part.  May God Bless America!

Ron Shimanski
 
The best way to contact me is by e-mail: <rep.ron.shimanski@house.mn>
                                             by phone: 651-296-1534 or 1-800-920-5882
                                             by US mail: Rep. Ron Shimanski
                                                               100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 
                                                                St. Paul, Mn. 55155-1298           

2011 Legislative Session

2011-01-16

2011 Legislative Session

The 2011 Legislative session is underway with new leadership in the House, Senate, and the Governor's office.  Everyone is getting attuned to their new responsibilities and opportunities.  It's a new era for state government.  A time to make bold moves to right the course of Minnesota's government, but such changes must come with judicious forethought.  The first legislative bill introductions have been registered with some sound initiatives.  Now comes the committee deliberation to weigh the pro's and con's of the important bills to determine if they are more helpful or cost effective than current law.  I urge everyone to be attentive to what is happening in the Legislature,  follow the bills and committee action, and most importantly, citizens must let their legislators know how they perceive and evaluate the reamifications of the bills being debated.  The new members of the House and Senate are dynamic men and women, here to work for the good of all Minnesotans.  Please encourage them to hold firm to their convictions in service to all.

As I begin my third term, my committee assignments include; Agriculture and Rural Development, Transportation, and vice chair of the Judiciary Committee.  I am also serving on a "Ladder Out of Poverty" task force, with my work group developing financial education guidelines for K-12 students and adults.  As always your questions, input and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

 We are charged with balancing the State budget in this legislative session.  Revenues for the 2012-2013 biennium will increase approximately 5% to $32 Billion.  It is our intent to live within our means, not raise taxes, or continue to spend more than we collect in revenue.  Without structural change in State statutes, we would be on a course to spend over $38 Billion in the next biennium.  Now is the prime opportunity to reform, revamp, review, and restructure how we provide services to the people of Minnesota, to eliminate excessive and redundant bureaucracy in state and local government.  The emphasis should be on returning local control to counties, cities, townships, and school districts.

In all of this process and deliberation, we must be mindful of the need to help or allow the private sector to create the jobs necessary to grow out of this recession.  Long term, sustained economic growth can only be assured through the productivity and employment within the private sector.  The legislature's job should be to remove barriers and obstructions that stall job growth in Minnesota.  Repeatedly, we are told of jobs leaving Minnesota for other states or foreign countries where the costs and burden of doing business are much less than they are here.  We have tremendous resources here, the best of which is our well educated workforce, agricultural production, forests, minerals, water, recreation, and four definitive seasons.  Our workforce and industry leaders are willing, but the bureaucracy impedes our efficient development of these resources.  The Federal government also compounds this problem.  Corporate taxes, Environmental Protection Agency rules and restrictions as well as labor laws and other federal interventions, meant to protect us, drive up our costs and diminish any technological or competitive advantage we may have over producers around the globe.  In this global economy, America and Minnesota should lead in productivity and prosperity.  It is up to us to bring about the changes needed to make it happen!  But the voters and citizens have to back us up, to help persuade and convince those reluctant or resistant to change, that we need to release the productive potential within us all.  Let us all do our part.  May God Bless America!

Ron Shimanski
 
The best way to contact me is by e-mail: <rep.ron.shimanski@house.mn>
                                             by phone: 651-296-1534 or 1-800-920-5882
                                             by US mail: Rep. Ron Shimanski
                                                               100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 
                                                                St. Paul, Mn. 55155-1298           

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