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

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Legislative Update (4-24-15)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s update. Legislators spent much of their time this week on the House floor as we began debating and passing large omnibus finance and policy bills.

House Passes Comprehensive Transportation Plan

On Tuesday, the House approved the Road and Bridge Act of 2015, the major part of our comprehensive, future-oriented proposal for transportation in Minnesota. Our approach to addressing our state’s transportation needs invests $7 billion over the next decade into our roads and bridges without raising taxes.

Over the next ten years, the Republican proposal prioritizes repairing or replacing 15,500 lane miles for all roads and 330 bridges statewide. This is accomplished through the following investments:


  • $4.03 billion for state roads
  • $1.44 billion for county roads
  • $583 million for municipal roads

  • $282 million for small cities under 5,000

  • $139 million for Greater Minnesota bus services

  • $60 million for township roads & bridges

Sixteen communities in Crow Wing County would be eligible to receive a total of just under $850,000 thanks to the $282 million for cities under 5,000 residents in our plan. This money is in addition to any funds that they would be receiving otherwise and can be used toward pothole repair or other transportation improvements.

As I have traveled around the district, the message from local residents has been clear: fix our roads and bridges, but do so without increasing the gas tax. That’s why I am encouraged by our plan that invests these critically needed improvements without raising taxes.

Tax Relief for Minnesotans

Early this week, House Republican leadership unveiled our omnibus tax bill. This bill will provide $2 billion in tax relief to middle class families, college students, aging adults, veterans, farmers, and job creators.

Included in the tax bill is a provision that I authored that would exempt most military retirement pay from state taxes. Minnesota is currently 1 of only 6 states that fully taxes retired military pay and pensions.

States who have exempted retired military personnel from income taxes tend to see a large return on their investment. For example, since exempting retired military personnel from their state income tax, Wisconsin has gained $340 million additional dollars that has circulated in their economy. Their retired military residents have begun lucrative second careers; creating businesses and bringing new revenue and jobs into the state that would have otherwise not existed. Iowa enacted similar legislation last January. It's time Minnesota does the same.

Also included in the bill is a new Minnesota personal or dependent tax exemption which could save a middle class family of four more than $500 over the next two years.

I am encouraged by this tax bill as it proves that we can invest in our roads and bridges, education, our aging adults’ quality of life while also reducing the burden on hard working Minnesotans.

Staying in Touch

“Liking” my Facebook page and “following” my Twitter account are both great ways to stay connected with what is going on here in St. Paul.

If you are planning on being in St. Paul this session, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 651-296-4929 or via email at to set up an appointment. It would be an honor to speak with you and discuss ways we can make Minnesota better.