Earlier this week, the legislature voted unanimously in the House and Senate to approve emergency funding for the Department of Health to continue their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill included protections for taxpayers that would require money to be paid back to the general fund if it goes unspent.
The legislature is considering additional steps to ensure our state and health care system can respond as quickly and effectively as possible — Minnesotans should have confidence that legislators, the governor, and state agencies are working closely based on the expert recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
As this situation unfolds, social media could be rife with misinformation so please continue to rely only on information from trusted sources. Your best sources for up-to-date information are the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) websites.
MDH: COVID-19 Home Page
MDH: Prepare and Prevent COVID-19
MDH: Situation Update for COVID-19
CDC: COVID-19 Home Page
CDC: COVID-19 FAQ
In other news, this week House Republicans unveiled a proposal for significant tax cuts using the state’s $1.5 billion budget surplus.
For starters, Minnesota is one of just several states to tax social security and putting an end to that would make our state a better home for seniors, especially those living on a fixed income. We also need to fix the Section 179 problem that has resulted in farmers and businesses receiving surprise tax bills for thousands upon thousands of dollars. Our package addresses both issues and more. The highlights include:
- Eliminating state taxes on social security benefits. House Republicans successfully pushed to eliminate social security taxes for 250,000-plus Minnesotans in 2017, this provision would finish that effort and eliminate social security taxes entirely.
- Tax Fairness for Farmers and Main Street Businesses. Last session’s failure to enact full Section 179 conformity is causing massive unexpected tax bills for farmers and businesses. House Republicans are proposing to fully conform and make it retroactive so farmers and businesses are not stuck with tax bills many simply cannot afford.
- Childcare Tax Credit. Republicans are seeking to help families dealing with high childcare expenses by increasing the income threshold for the dependent care credit from the current cap of $52,160 to $75,000 making thousands more families eligible for assistance paying childcare bills.
- Doubling the student loan tax credit. House Republicans helped create the first-ever student loan tax credit of up to $500 for college graduates making payments on their loans. The new proposal would double that credit to $1,000.
- Property Tax Relief. By putting an additional $50 million into school equalization aid, this would effectively result in a property tax cut for Minnesota homeowners by reducing reliance on local property tax revenue.
- Increasing the Personal Exemption. Every Minnesotan would benefit from an approximately $1,300 increase to the personal exemption.
Until next time,