Taxes and Spending
Recently the U.S. Census Bureau listed Minnesota as the fourth highest taxed state. Just a few years ago, we had gotten out of the top ten. Jim Knoblach believes we need to restrain state taxes and spending so people have more money to spend on themselves, which will help our economy more than additional government spending. Jim supported using the budget surplus to cut taxes, reform our tax system, and provide property tax relief. Jim also successfully supported an increase in the size of the state’s budget reserve so we have a cushion if the economy turns down.
Creating Good Jobs
Jim Knoblach recognizes the struggle that many people have in today’s economy, sometimes working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Jim is dedicated to helping create the good jobs we need so we can have a strong middle class, which is the backbone of a prosperous economy. Jim knows what it takes to create good jobs, having spent a lifetime in small business, creating jobs in industries like printing, real estate, medical devices, and technology. He successfully authored over $100 million in bonding projects for our area as a legislator, creating many good construction jobs. He supports changes in our tax code to create and keep good jobs. He also recognizes that while government regulation has its place, it has grown out of control and is hurting job creation in our state.
Jim Knoblach believes in making health care accessible and affordable for all people. However, many people are facing exploding health care costs, in part because programs like MNSure are failing. Jim believes the state would be better off using existing federal health care programs, instead of paying for extra state programs, and then helping Minnesotans that need additional help. He also believes we need to empower consumers to purchase the health care they find best for their own situation. Increased competition, including allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, should be used to help drive down health insurance costs, and tax credits provided to make health insurance affordable for those who cannot otherwise afford it.
Jim Knoblach believes we need increased funding for transportation. Minnesota did enact record transportation funding this last budget, but Jim believes we need to do more. He supported using part of the budget surplus to increase road and bridge construction. He also supports dedicating taxes like the sales tax on auto parts to roads and bridges, instead of enacting the 16 cent per gallon gas tax increase favored by some. Jim supports widening I-94 to three lanes up to Saint Cloud. He supports prioritizing more money for roads and bridges. He also authored an innovative expansion of the Northstar Corridor to Saint Cloud which would minimize cost by utilizing the current Amtrak station.
As a graduate of the Saint Cloud public school system, Jim appreciates the excellent education he received. He believes a strong public school system is, as our Minnesota Constitution says, “…the duty of the legislature.” But Jim also knows how public education has changed, and the new challenges they face. Jim supports the Saint Cloud area getting its fair share of funding. He recognizes the special challenges District 742 has in funding special education and English language learning. He also supports expanding tax credits for public, private and home school students. During the past year Jim was instrumental in getting significant additional funding for District #742, including successfully authoring the new early education pilot program.
As a parent of two college age children, and former university Board Member, Jim knows the challenges of providing a college education. He also remembers the years it took him to pay off $14,000 in student loans he accumulated during his years of higher education. Jim believes higher education is critical for both students and our society. He was proud to play a lead role in the $100 million increase in funding received by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in the 2016-17 state budget, and in passing legislation that froze tuition. Jim believes we need to ensure higher education is affordable, and that state supported colleges and universities are both properly funded and use this funding in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Jim Knoblach believes that public safety is job number one for government. The threat of terrorism is likely to be with us for a long time, and we need to be vigilant and provide law enforcement with the tools they need to combat it, while preserving citizens’ rights. But we also must fight local crimes that impact our community and neighborhoods. Jim successfully worked to pass legislation combatting sex trafficking, and providing more money for police, courts, public defenders, and probation officers.
Jim Knoblach believes the Legislature is too partisan, and that the legislative budget process needs reform. Jim has been a champion of reform efforts in the House. He introduced legislation to return Minnesota to having a nonpartisan Legislature, like it had from 1909 to the mid-1970s. He also passed legislation that will require legislative leaders to bring forward reform proposals in the next session, including ways to end the last minute brinkmanship that so often defines the end of legislative sessions.
Jim Knoblach is pro-life.
The 2014 State Representative 14B race was the most expensive such race in state history. This was largely due to outside interest group spending over which neither Jim Knoblach or his opponent had any control. Jim Knoblach proposed on July 14 that his opponent sign a pledge to try to limit the influence of these outside groups. To date his opponent has not agreed to sign this pledge. The pledge can be found here.
New Legislative Office Building
Jim Knoblach was the state wide leader in fighting against the new $90 million legislative office building. He believes it was a huge waste of money, and that this money could have been better used elsewhere.