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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - A Budget for a Better Minnesota

Friday, April 23, 2021

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors, 

While the week was largely spent passing more of our budget proposals in the Minnesota House, we took a break on Tuesday - as I’m sure many of you did - to anxiously await the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. 

While a guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin is just, it does not in itself deliver justice.

It is this truth that I held close, watching the reading of the verdict alongside my colleagues at the State Capitol. We have an obligation to ensure George Floyd's legacy is not simply the memory of a static, tragic event, but a living, enduring challenge to bend the moral arc of history toward justice. This work began anew the next day when we passed our Public Safety bill with strong reforms to reimagine policing and public safety.

The fight for justice endures.



A Budget for a Better Minnesota

We’ve nearly completed passing our full budget proposal off the House floor, with only the Health and Human Services Budget Bill waiting for us on Monday. So far, we’ve passed the following budget bills:

All together, we’re putting forward a comprehensive proposal that delivers economic security for working Minnesotans, quality education from cradle to career, the tools for a clean energy economy and climate-conscious infrastructure, and robust investments in the equitable, safe, and responsive Minnesota that everyone deserves - no matter what they look like, or where they live.

I’ve already provided an overview of the Housing and Public Safety components in our state budget, and now I’d like to walk you through the meaningful changes we’re proposing in our House Tax Bill. I spoke to the importance of the tax provisions on the House floor when we passed the bill yesterday, which you can watch below:

Howard Speech

It’s historically been the case that economic downturns impact everyone across the financial spectrum, but that’s not what we’ve seen this past year. The economic impact of the pandemic is unique in the sense that it hasn’t impacted everyone equally. While working families and small businesses continue to struggle, the wealthiest 1% are doing better than ever. Our tax proposal seeks to level that playing field. 

Our bill expands the Working Family Tax Credit, exempts COVID-19 unemployment insurance payments and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from state taxes, and provides aid for small businesses that didn’t receive a PPP loan or didn’t profit in 2020. We’re also proposing direct property tax assistance to more than one million homeowners and renters, so qualified homeowners would receive bigger Homestead Credit refunds and qualified renters would receive bigger Renters Property Tax Refunds.

To help deliver the resources and services that Minnesotans deserve, our bill creates a new 5th Tier income tax rate for those earning more than $1 million per year - over $20,000 a week. It also prevents multinational corporations from sheltering profits in offshore tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. There is nothing wrong with financial success, and the fact corporations have identified Minnesota’s exceptional workforce as an integral part of their business is to be celebrated - but the wealthiest among us must pay their fair share. 



Rent Assistance - Available Now

We’re working hard to deliver resources to Minnesotans facing housing insecurity, but the best case scenario won’t see legislation passing until May. Right now, RentHelpMN is taking applications for those who need assistance. This new program is making it possible for low- and moderate-income renters to get caught up on overdue rent and utilities dating back to March 13, 2020. It also makes provisions for those at risk of falling behind on rent payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you are a renter or a housing provider, RentHelpMN may have resources available for you

Rental Assistance


Stay Connected

Once we pass our Health and Human Services Budget Bill on Monday, House and Senate members will begin the process of meeting in joint conference committees to craft consensus legislation on our (at this point very different) budget bills. 

During this time, I’ll be doing what I can to ensure the final state budget we pass next month is as capable as possible of helping Minnesotans get through this pandemic, and thrive after it ends. If you have any questions about the bills we’ve passed this last week, please feel free to reach out to me at or (651) 296-7158. I look forward to hearing from you. 

In partnership,


Michael Howard