Hello from St. Paul,
This week, House Republicans laid out their budget proposal for the next two years. I’m happy to report that it includes an additional $1.1 billion for our schools, a new plan to fund transportation projects, and a tax relief initiative. All things that I have heard broad support for across our district! Let me share some details with you:
The transportation plan that was introduced invests $6 billion over the next decade, with $2 billion being spent in the next two years alone, without raising the gas tax. I believe that with a $1.6 billion surplus, the Governor and lawmakers should not be proposing to raise your taxes. The bill would be funded through bonds and a re-appropriation of auto-related taxes to be spent exclusively on transportation projects. This bill is a comprehensive and straightforward approach to funding future projects, and I am hopeful for a positive reception from Governor Dayton.
Some key provisions in the bill that benefit Greater Minnesota:
- Dedicates $25 million of funding over the next two years to a small cities assistance program that allocates money to cities with fewer than 5,000 residents for local road improvements
- Creates a special fund of $25 million specifically for bridge projects recommended by MNDOT. Our district has priority projects on this list!
- Allocates $35 million for rail grade crossings to improve rail safety. This includes funding for the critical overpass on Sturgeon Lake Rd that leads to the Prairie Island Indian Community, Treasure Island, and the Xcel Nuclear Power Plant.
- Requires counties or the County Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) to fund 100% of operating and future capital costs for light rail in the metro.
The proposed tax relief bill would reduce taxes for Minnesotans by more than $1.35 billion over the next two years. This tax bill helps middle-class families, farmers, small business owners, and college students.
Some of the bill’s highlights:
- Increases the income cap for the social security tax exemption
- Provides more credits and deductions for families saving for post-secondary education using 529 Savings Plans, as well as tax credits for student loan payments
- Exempts the first $200,000 of property value from the extra tax on local businesses and freezes the automatic inflator
- Reduces the burden agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums
- Modifies the child and dependent care credit (a family of four with childcare expenses would receive $660 more relief than current law)
These bills are currently working their way through the committee process and will be heading to the floor of the House for a vote of the entire body in the near future. I will continue to advocate on your behalf for both of these well-balanced and financially sound proposals.
Enjoy the weekend! Maybe more spring-like weather will be on the way soon!
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.
I appreciate your comments and concerns as it helps me be a better representative.
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