Busy times for state lawmakers in recent days


Delegation attends sub commissioning; session fails to repeal damaging tax
It has been a busy time last week for many state legislators, including myself.

I joined two dozen other lawmakers as part of a large delegation attending the commissioning ceremony for the new USS Minnesota — the U.S. Navy’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered submarine. We traveled to the largest naval base in the world at Norfolk, Va., Sept. 7 to witness the traditional exercises of handing a ship over to its crew.

The sub is 377 feet long and holds a crew of 135 sailors who can travel hundreds of feet below the surface for extended periods of time. While touring the Minnesota, we were also privileged to tour the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Arlington. The Arlington was one of three ships named in honor of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and commemorates the 184 lives lost at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

You can view photos from commissioning online through a blog started by one of my colleagues, Rep. Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer, who helped organize the trip. I want to also thank the Twin Cities chapter of the Navy League for raising money from private donors to hold the event, which would not have been possible without their work. As legislators, we covered our own expenses for the trip.

Traditionally, state governments help pay the cost of commissioning exercises for ships named after them to show support for the crew and their families, who sacrifice so much. I was chief author of the bill last session to provide funding for the commissioning, but the funding was stripped out by DFL legslative leaders before the bill was passed. Unfortunately, this meant private money raised for scholarships of crewmembers’ families would be put on hold and used to cover the costs of the actual commissioning.

As you might know, the legislature met on Sept. 9 in a brief special session for storm damage relief to several Minnesota counties hit hard by severe weather in June. I again submitted a bill to cover the costs of the USS Minnesota commissioning for this session and also plan on authoring the bill again when we meet for the regular session next spring.

I was disappointed that Gov. Mark Dayton did not fulfill his promise to repeal a damaging new tax on farm equipment repair when we met for our Sept. 9 special session. I urge him to still consider repealing the three major “business-to-business” taxes which are hitting our small businesses and middle-class families very hard right now. These taxes hit more than just the “rich” and are only being used to grow the size and scope of government.

We also have new information about several unfair tax increases that are the result of poor decisions last spring. Since the House and Senate did not agree on tax conformity issues in May, new taxes on child care services, student loan interest, adoption services and even a tax on foreclosed homes are now in effect.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in St. Paul.

Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, represents District 39A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Contact him at 651-296-4124 or [email protected]