Thank you for your continued correspondence this session. It was an honor representing you in St. Paul, and I thank you for letting me be your voice. With the conclusion of the legislative session, here’s a quick look at where we finished.
Middle-Class Tax Relief
Over the weekend, we passed an agreement on a bill that provides $275 million in tax relief, with additional relief of $550 million in subsequent budget cycles. Included in the bill are a number of provisions that will provide tax relief for small business owners, recent college graduates, military veterans, and middle-class families across Minnesota. Among the $800 million in relief is:
- $90.6 million in agriculture property tax relief for Minnesota farmers.
- $110 million in tax relief for college graduates paying off student loans through a refundable tax credit up to $1,000, the first of its kind in the country.
- $49 million in tax relief for families who contribute to 529 Plans to save for their children's college costs.
- $146 million in property tax relief for every small business in the state by exempting the first $100,000 of commercial-industrial property.
- $13 million in tax relief for veterans by raising the income eligibility threshold, and increasing the total credit from $750 to $1,000.
- $150 million in tax relief for working families by expanding the working family tax credit.
- $32 million to reduce the cost of childcare; by expanding the childcare tax credit, families could earn a tax credit up to $960.
In Carver County, residents have long been paying too much of their hard-earned money in taxes which led to our $900 million surplus. As a longtime champion for lower taxes, I’m happy to see this bill correct some of the excess taxation of 2013 and 2014. Middle-class families, small business owners, military veterans, and people up and down Main Street, Minnesota will all benefit from this agreement. In our supplemental budget proposal, we also included a provision to exclude military retirement pay from state income tax. While I would have liked to have seen greater amounts of tax relief, this compromise is a good start for what I hope to be further cuts in our high tax rates.
Bonding and Transportation
On Sunday evening, the House passed a bonding and transportation bill to invest $700 million in roads and bridges throughout the state. However, when the bill went to the Senate, things changed dramatically.
In a political maneuver, the Senate DFL majority failed to pass the bonding and transportation bill and prevented funding for $12.5 million for Small Cities Road Assistance, $200 million for the Corridors of Commerce program, and funds for township road repairs. By pushing for an amendment in favor of Southwest Light Rail, the Senate killed the bonding and transportation bill. Unfortunately, the Senate tried to play politics with road and bridge funding, running out the clock without passing our $700 million bill.
It’s possible the governor will call a special session, and, if he does, I hope we can pass the bill the House and Senate agreed to before the rogue amendment.
This weekend kicks off summer for most, but it’s important to remember the reason for Memorial Day. We can’t forget those who gave their lives in the service of this country. I’m forever grateful for this sacrifice that allows us to live free. I hope to see you at City Square Park in Waconia at 11 a.m. on Monday where I’ll be speaking to honor our fallen soldiers.
Although it’s a holiday weekend, feel free to contact me and I’ll return your call or email.