Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Matt Bliss (R)

Back to profile

Legislative update

Friday, February 23, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

The House this week approved legislation authorizing a local sales and use tax in Beltrami County and likely improving returns for income tax filers throughout the state. Here’s a look at those and other subjects as we near the end of Week 2 in the 2024 session:

Bill approved to aid Beltrami, spare income-tax filers

Beltrami voters approved a .625% local sales tax last November to fund the design and construction of a new Beltrami County Jail, but legislative approval was required for it to take effect.

Nearly 97 percent of the local voters supported this local initiative and it’s good this week the Legislature honored the will of the people. It’s hard for 97 percent to agree on just about anything these days, so that public vote total sent a rather clear message to the House and I’m glad we responded accordingly with an overwhelming vote of our own, 128-2 in support of a bill honoring the results of the referendum.

The bill also included a provision to fix a problem for taxpayers statewide. During the 2023 session, the Democrat-led legislature approved comprehensive taxes legislation that reduced standard income tax deductions, leading to tax increases for roughly 76 percent of Minnesotans.

The bill we approved correctly inflates the statutory amounts for the standard deduction, additional standard deduction for seniors and blind taxpayers, and standard deduction amounts for dependents. Without this correction, the Department of Revenue estimates that an additional $352 million in general fund tax revenue would be raised starting in tax year 2024.

It’s good we addressed this issue before we get into the thick of tax season. It is a nice example of how the Legislature can come together and approve a bill with broad, bipartisan support. Good things happen when we put the people first.

On the other hand, it is disappointing the bill did not include agreed-upon language that would provide a technical fix to the Net Operating Loss (NOL) provision. This provision reduced the NOL deduction from 80% to 70 percent of taxable income for corporations.  The legislative intent was to make this provision effective for tax year 2024. However, the 2023 Tax Bill contained an effective date of tax year 2023.

That issue should have been resolved as well, especially since both tax chairs wrote a letter to state officials indicating they would correct the effective date at the earliest possible opportunity. It’s disappointing the majority lacked follow-through on that one and it could cost small businesses in our state at a time many can least afford it.

If the NOL error is not fixed, tax year 2023 filers will be liable for additional tax revenue with a general fund revenue gain of an estimated $14.8 million.

National FFA Week

FFA Week 2024

This is National Future Farmers of America week. It’s a time to share what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day, preparing students for successful careers. Your efforts as instructors and students alike in FFA are much appreciated. Keep up the good work!

Precinct caucuses next week

This year’s precinct caucuses will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27. These meetings provide Minnesotans with the opportunity to participate in grassroots politics. The more people we have involved in this process, the better and I hope you can attend.  The Minnesota Secretary of State website has a statewide Caucus Finder page to help citizens find their meeting locations.

On the radar

State flag: Just following up on a subject I mentioned last week: A House Republican bill has been introduced allowing a public vote to decide whether to accept or reject the new state flag design. Minnesotans deserve to have the final say before a new flag flies over them now and for generations to come instead of having a small panel make this decision. Stay tuned.

Equal Rights Amendment: The ERA has been a point of discussion entering this session. I think we all operate under the assumption that all Minnesotans are already equal. Nobody is less equal. Last year's ERA bill had bipartisan support, but we don't know how much worse they are going to make it this time around, potentially co-opting it as a means to slide extreme ideology such as abortion rights or transgender issues into our Constitution.

School Resource Officers: Legislators continue hashing out this issue after changes made to state law last year caused law enforcement agencies to SROs from numerous schools across Minnesota. This is a priority issue and hopefully there’s bipartisan agreement on a solution soon so we can improve school safety in Minnesota.

Watch for more from the Capitol soon. We will receive an updated economic forecast for the state next week and I am sure that will provide some good fodder for discussion.

For now, have a good weekend and please stay in touch.