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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Josh Heintzeman

Monday, April 30, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

It is omnibus bill season in St. Paul as the House approved its supplemental education finance omnibus bill last Thursday. With the passage of Thursday’s bill, it feels like we are entering the home stretch of the 2018 legislative session. As always, things get hectic in the final weeks here at the Capitol with long nights and early mornings. Despite the crazy schedule, it remains the honor of a lifetime to represent you and your family in St. Paul.

This year’s education omnibus bill focuses heavily on the issue of school safety. Following the shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, lawmakers, school officials and administrators, and other stakeholders have been discussing ways to improve school safety.

The conversations have been fruitful as our bill includes a number of initiatives that will ensure that Minnesota students are able to have a safe and secure educational experience. Our multifaceted approach gives school districts the flexibility to leverage the resources we are offering to tailor a plan that fits their specific needs.

This includes, expanding the use of long-term facilities maintenance revenue for facility security upgrades, strengthening the state’s commitment to school-linked mental health grants, supporting suicide prevention training for teachers, increasing funding for Safe Schools Revenue, and more.

Other highlights from the bill include:

  • Strengthening and clarifying state law to address teacher misconduct and teacher licensure including prohibiting sexual relationships between educators and students and prohibiting the issuance or renewal of a teacher/administrative license or bus driver licensure for certain felonies or gross misdemeanors involving a minor
  • Requiring the Minnesota Department of Education to create a School Report Card —a one-stop-spot for summative and easily accessible school and district ratings that will provide families with a place to research, compare and help determine which school will work best for their child
  • Enhancing the transparency of school funding and our commitment to tackling our state’s achievement gap by doubling the number of school audits each year. These audits will discern whether or not education dollars allocated to school districts and dedicated to special education, English-learner and low-income students are reaching the students intended
  • Ensuring students are exposed to a wide variety of post-secondary options including the trades and branches of the military

House Approves Tax Conformity Bill

On Monday, the House passed its tax conformity plan, a plan that simplifies our tax code, lowers taxes for millions of Minnesotans, and ensures that as many Minnesotans as possible see the benefits of the federal tax law that was enacted last year.

More than 2.1 million Minnesotans will benefit from our plan. Here are some highlights:

  • Helping middle-class Minnesotans keep more of what they earn by cutting the second tier income tax rate from 7.05% to 6.75% by tax year 2020. This would mark the first income tax rate reduction in Minnesota since 2000.
  • Lowering taxes for people at all income levels by increasing the standard deduction from $13,000 to $14,000.
  • Protecting families by preserving a state personal and dependent exemption of $4,150.
  • Encouraging affordable homeownership by allowing a state-itemized deduction of up to $30,000 in property taxes.
  • Supporting hometown businesses and farmers by reinvesting extra revenue from corporate tax changes into Section 179 conformity and overall rate reductions.

Conversely, Governor Dayton’s plan would raise taxes on Minnesotans of all incomes. In fact, analysis from his Department of Revenue found that Minnesotans making $32,000 less would be hardest hit by his proposal. He has proposed reinstating more than $1 billion in health care tax increases and repealing tax reductions enacted last session.

Clearly, such a proposal would be dead-on-arrival in the House and I think the governor understands that.

I look forward continuing our work on this very important issue and will be keeping you updated on its progress as session continues.

Thank you to those of you that took time to visit St. Paul this week! It was great to meet with you and discuss issues that are important to you and our area.

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That’s all for this week, as always, I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at

Have a great weekend,