The Minnesota Legislative session is entering its final weeks. My colleagues and I are working to improve the quality of life for people on the Iron Range and all across our great state. We’re delivering bold investments in education, fixing roads and bridges, fighting rising health care costs, and reducing income and property taxes.
This session, I have the honor to serve as chair of the House Property Taxes Committee, delivering the biggest tax cut in state history. The House Tax bill makes Social Security income exempt from state taxes for seniors earning less than $100,000 annually, expands the Homestead Credit Refunds for homeowners by a total of $41 million, and reforms the Renter’s Property Tax Refund resulting in over $378 million in refunds for renters. We are putting money back in your pockets, sending direct checks of $275 per taxpayer, plus another $275 for each child—up to three children— for most Minnesotans. We will also cut childhood poverty by nearly one quarter with a new Child & Working Family Tax Credit of up to $1,275 per child, plus a K-12 Education Credit up to $1,500 per child. The bottom line is that tax cuts are coming to low and moderate-income families, regular working people, and not just to the well-off few.
Most of all, I’m proud of the work we did—in partnership with mayors, city council members, and county commissioners—to increase annual Local Government Aid by $100 million and County Program Aid by $100 million while automatically increasing these investments in the future based on inflation.
Over the past two decades, our state’s partnership with local communities has deteriorated. LGA now represents just 2.1% of the state budget compared to 4.1% in 2002. Inflation has increased and state support has decreased, but expectations of Minnesotans to have quality public services remain. These factors— along with decreasing commercial property valuations—have contributed to rising property taxes for Minnesotans. Everyone deserves to have reliable law enforcement, fire services, clean water, libraries, safe roads, public health, and so many other things we look to our cities and counties to provide for an excellent quality of life.
The bottom line will mean property tax cuts for every homeowner and property owner, including businesses. In public education, House DFLers are delivering historic investments.
The budget includes a 4% increase on to the per-pupil formula and more, ensuring schools have stable, ongoing funding. We also make strong investments in reading, increase opportunities for early learners, and allow schools to hire more social workers, counselors, psychologists, school nurses and other key support staff.
The bottom line will mean a better education for our kids and more state support for your schools rather than relying on increasing property taxes.
If you drive on our roads, you know our transportation infrastructure is falling apart, earning a D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The House Transportation Bill addresses years of underfunding with comprehensive, sustainable investments. I’m proud that for the first time ever, we will ensure cities with populations less than 5,000 will receive dedicated, ongoing funding for road improvements. Small cities—like the vast majority of them in our region— can count on reliable road funding year after year.
The bottom line is, we have a responsibility to have good roads, for safety, for commerce, and for efficiency.
No matter the topic, with the vast spectrum of viewpoints at the Capitol, no bill will reflect any single legislator’s preferences 100%. An all-or-nothing approach doesn’t work, and Minnesotans expect us to collaborate and get things done for our state.
Conversations will continue between the House, Senate, and Governor to deliver a final budget that’s balanced, pragmatic, and improves people’s lives over the long haul. As we look toward the final weeks of the session, please continue to contact me on the issues important to you. It’s an honor to represent you in St. Paul.
Rep. Dave Lislegard represents District 7B in the Minnesota House. He can be reached at the Capitol by email at rep. email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-0170.
He also invites constituents to follow him on Facebook at fb.com/repdavelislegard.