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RELEASE: House Republicans prioritize tax relief with budget surplus

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Budget adjustments include key investments in roads and bridges, school safety

St. Paul- House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), Majority Leader Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) and House Ways and Means Chairman Jim Knoblach (R-St. Cloud) announced targets for budget adjustments Thursday building on the historic accomplishments of the 2017 Legislative Session. House Republicans propose dedicating the largest portion of the budget surplus toward simplifying Minnesota’s tax code to fully benefit from recent federal tax reform and provide additional tax relief to the middle-class.

“2017 was the most productive legislative session in modern history. Our Republican-led legislature delivered significant tax relief and a major investment in roads and bridges. These 2018 budget adjustments continue our strong commitment to Minnesota families through tax relief, roads and bridges, and school safety,” Speaker Daudt said.

With state government fully funded from last year’s two year budget, major investments will focus on common-sense issues like fixing roads and bridges and improving student safety. Savings are found through efficiencies in state government spending.

"Today’s budget adjustments reflect our shared values. In addition to school safety, tax conformity, and transportation infrastructure, we also make needed investments in mental health for our farmers, efforts to combat the opioid crisis, and care for our disabled community," added Majority Leader Peppin.

Budget adjustments (as compared to currently scheduled spending):

Taxes: $107,000,000

Simplifying state taxes and providing tax relief to hardworking Minnesotans.

Transportation: $101,000,000

Fixing roads and bridges statewide.

K-12 Education: $30,223,000

Putting student safety first through mental health programming and school safety improvements.

Health and Human Services: $10,000,000

Preventing a 7 percent cut to those who care for Minnesota’s disabled community through the Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS).

Jobs and Energy: $15,000,000

Increasing internet infrastructure in Greater Minnesota through the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.

Agriculture: $250,000

Supporting increased mental health counseling for farmers.

Capital Investment $8,893,000

Enabling an $825 million General Obligation (GO) bonding package, including $25 million for school safety.

Environment: $750,000

Tackling Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which affects Minnesota’s deer, elk and moose populations.

Higher Education: $5,000,000

Public Safety: $7,119,000

State Government Finance: ($7,000,000)

Efficiencies to be determined by the committee.

Other Bills: $50,600,000

Addressing issues like the opioid crisis and elder abuse.

“We are taking a balanced approach with the budget surplus – finding efficiencies, investing in Minnesotans’ priorities, and growing our reserves for a rainy day. In the coming weeks, we are confident that by working with the Senate and the governor that we can come to agreement on these broadly-supported, common-sense issues," concluded Chairman Knoblach.

House Republicans intend on returning $75 million of unspent funds from the 2017 Premium Rebate Program to the budget reserve, protecting Minnesota’s fiscal integrity. Governor Dayton is proposing to spend those tax dollars. The House plans to adopt these budget adjustments in Ways and Means Committee on Thursday evening.