Hello Friends and Neighbors,
On Tuesday, I attended a workforce forum sponsored by the Center for the American Experiment. Kyle Hartung, with Jobs for the Future, gave a presentation entitled "The Future Can't Wait: The Imperative of Industry/Education Partnerships to Meet the Needs of the Future Workforce." Business and nonprofit leaders from around the state attended to hear Kyle's presentation and share strategies for preparing students and aligning our workforce with industry needs. As you know, I continue to seek partnerships and workforce solutions that will benefit our state.
In this week’s update, I wanted to fill you in on the House’s tax proposal and share some information about the passage of the House education bill.
Proposed Tax Bill
Earlier this week, House Republicans unveiled the details of our proposed tax bill. As I’ve discussed in previous updates, conforming to the recently changed federal tax code is one of the most pressing issues the legislature is faced with this year. Our proposed legislation addresses this by simplifying Minnesota’s tax code to enable taxpayers to smoothly file their taxes and enjoy the full benefit of the federal tax cuts.
Additionally, this bill would deliver significant tax relief for Minnesota’s middle-class families, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money. This historic tax reduction would be Minnesota’s first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years, and would result in over 2.1 million Minnesota filers seeing a tax reduction.
The following are highlights of this proposal:
- Cutting the second tier income tax rate from 7.05% to 6.75% by tax year 2020.
- Lowering taxes for 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.
- Permits the expensing of qualified equipment purchases in their year of purchase (i.e., farmers writing off farm equipment depreciation)
The tax bill has cleared its committee hurdles and will now come before the House as a whole for debate and a vote on Monday.
House Approves Education Bill
Student safety has been a top priority this session, and last night, we passed a bipartisan education bill that focuses on student and school safety, makes a number of innovative reforms, and brings more transparency to education.
Our school safety package in the bill is a multifaceted approach that gives Minnesota school districts the resources and flexibility needed to address student safety and security. Some highlights of this portion include expanding the use of long-term facilities maintenance revenue for facility security upgrades, addressing student mental health, supporting suicide prevention training for teachers, and increasing and equalizing funding for Safe Schools Revenue.
I am the chief author of the Safe Schools Revenue provision. In addition to increasing this funding overall, this equalizes the funding formula to ensure smaller, rural school districts can fairly access these important funds.
Our bill also strengthens laws around teacher misconduct, as well as helps create a Special Education Working Group to examine the factors behind rising costs in this area. It also establishes a School Report Card, which consists of summative and easily accessible school ratings that will provide families with a place to research, compare and help determine which school will work best for their children.
Finally, the bill contains a number of higher education provisions. I am the chief author of one of these which funds student loan debt counseling to provide recent college graduates with a blueprint to loan repayment and to ensure their future financial stability.
We will now have to work out the differences between this bill and the Senate’s proposal in order to send it to the Governor for final approval.
Prescription Drug Disposal
Tomorrow - Saturday, April 28 – is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This is a great opportunity to remove unused, dangerous medication from your home and have it disposed of in a safe and responsible way. For additional information or to find a drop-off location near you, please click here.
Had the opportunity to meet with students from the Red Wing High School Sustainability Club
Staying in Touch
In the final weeks of the legislative session, please feel free to contact me with any questions, thoughts, or concerns that you might have on any of the issues or bills that will be coming before me for a vote on the House floor. I appreciate the input I receive from constituents and would love to hear from you. I can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-8635.