Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, represents District 7 in the Minnesota Senate. He may be contacted at (651) 296-4188.
- Member for
- 3 years 9 months
There are two ways to fairly judge the work of the DFL-led Min-nesota Legislature over the past year and a half. One way is to examine what we accomplished since we first convened on Jan. 8, 2013. The list is quite long.
The first year of MNsure open enrollment is complete, and I think it’s worth noting what hasn’t happened. None of the doomsday predictions made by opponents of health care reform ever came true. What did happen?
We’re only at the halfway mark, but the 2014 Legislature has already racked up some signature accomplishments. Propane: On the first day of the session, we increased funding to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Diminished supply and a spike in demand of propane led to skyrocketing prices and increased applications for energy assistance. Quick action ensured that families were able to continue to heat their homes during this cold winter. Tax cut: We passed a major tax cut bill that provided relief to middle class families and Minnesota businesses.
One of the signature promises DFL candidates made in 2012 was to provide statewide property tax relief. In 2013 we delivered $140 million in property tax relief directly to Minnesotans through changes to the property tax refund and renter’s credit programs. Because of those actions, more than 500,000 Minnesotans already have received or will receive additional property tax relief this year. We also invested in our cities and counties again through County Aid and Local Government Aid.
In his State of the Union speech last month, President Obama wisely focused on the growing economic inequality that threatens to cripple our future. The president said, “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by; let alone to get ahead.