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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Budget work kicks into in high gear

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Budget work kicked into high gear this week, with the House putting out its plan for the next two-year state cycle.

Here are just a few high points:

  • $1.35 billion in tax relief for Minnesota families
  • $450 million in new funding for road and bridge infrastructure, and an overall budget target that ensures a sustainable level of state spending for the next biennium
  • $1.1 billion in new funding for K-12 schools compared to the 2016-2017 biennium.

Overall, the House budget limits government spending more than what the governor and the Senate each propose.

The investments proposed in road and bridge infrastructure throughout the state are crucial and mirror what the public is looking for. In total, the proposal would invest $6 billion in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure over the next 10 years. The House bill dedicates $12.5 million over each of the next two years to the popular small cities funding program which allocates dollars to cities with fewer than 5,000 residents for local road improvements. It also creates a special fund specifically for bridge projects.

The $450 million for road and bridge infrastructure throughout the state would come from redirecting existing transportation-related funding streams to a Transportation Priorities Fund. The fund would be made up of funding from the existing taxes on auto parts, repairs and rentals and leases.

Tax relief is a major component of the tax bill, with $270 million to reduce the state tax on social security income, which will help senior citizens greatly. Another big benefit is that farmers would see significant relief with $42 million to reduce the burden agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums. Farms also would benefit from a measure conforming the state death tax to the federal exclusion.

Middle-class families would see a $35 million benefit from modifying the child and dependent care credit. A family of four with childcare expenses will receive $660 more relief than current law. Also, hometown businesses would benefit from $203 million to reduce the extra state property tax on businesses, exempting the first $200,000 in property value from the extra tax on businesses and freezing its automatic inflator.

The bottom line is this puts money back in the pockets of seniors, college students, farmers, Main Street businesses and more. Look for more details as things develop on these subjects and other specific areas of the state budget.

Nothing new to report on the subject of my shrimp farming bill, other than to say we’re hoping the proposal stays in the mix as things move through the process. We could have more news on my ditch mowing bill soon. Stay tuned.