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

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Release: House DFL announces new plan to reduce costs for workers, families, and senior citizens

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Saint Paul, Minn. — House Democrats today announced a new plan to reduce the cost of Minnesotans’ biggest expenses, including child care, housing, and prescription medications. Democrats’ plan targets assistance to people who need it most, such as workers, families, senior citizens, and people with chronic health conditions. 

“House DFLers care deeply about the challenges Minnesotans are facing,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “It's getting harder for workers and families to make ends meet. They can see an economy that is tilted against them. Corporate profits are soaring while Minnesotans are seeing their costs go up. That is why we are so focused on putting workers and families first this session. We have an opportunity to truly deliver help to those who need it most.”

The House DFL’s proposal reduces the cost of child care for Minnesota families by providing a tax credit of up to $3,000 for each child under five years of age, capped at $7,500 in total tax credits. It also provides a one-time “child tax credit rebate” of $325 for each child under 17 years of age. This means a family with three children under the age of five would receive nearly $7,000 in benefits. 

“This year, Democrats in the House are proposing targeted and significant financial assistance to help reduce rising costs,” said House Tax Committee Chair Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL-Dilworth). “We are especially concerned about the impact of out-of-control child care costs on family budgets, with some families paying as much or more than their monthly mortgage payments. That’s why we’re providing tax credits for families who cannot afford these rising costs.” 

The House DFL plan would reduce the cost of housing by devoting more funding to the state’s Renter’s Credit and Homestead Credit Refund programs. Approximately 120,000 renters will save an average $700 on their housing costs. Statewide, 30% of renter’s credit recipients are seniors or people with disabilities. Nearly 400,000 homestead credit refund filers will receive on average $100 more. In addition, more than 1.3 million homesteads that currently qualify for the market value exclusion will see an increased exclusion, putting more dollars back into the pockets of workers and families. The bill also increases the student loan tax credit to $1,400 for each spouse. 

“House DFLers are delivering the largest long-term investments in property tax cuts and renters’ credit in decades, as well as providing ongoing investments in communities across the state,” said Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins), chair of the House Property Tax Division. “These changes will put money back into Minnesotans' pockets at a time when they need it the most.”  

House Democrats also propose to tackle the housing crisis by initiating a first-of-its-kind program to provide first-generation homebuyers with down payment assistance. Minnesota has the highest disparities in home ownership in the country with 76% of White households owning a home and less than 23% of Black households owning a home.

“We know that there are economic disparities in our state and one place where it shows up is in generational wealth,” said Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Minneapolis), author of the bill. “If your parents owned a house, you are more likely to own a house. Our BIPOC neighbors have always been left out of this system on purpose, and it has significantly disadvantaged them and poor people from all races. This down payment assistance program will prioritize disadvantaged groups and help them through the process to achieve home ownership.”

House Democrats are also focused on helping Minnesotans who suffer from chronic conditions, including diabetes, asthma, and severe allergic reactions, proposing solutions like capping insulin, asthma inhalers, and EpiPens at $25 a month. The listed price of these medications have soared over the past decade, putting incredible stress on Minnesotans left to manage their health. More than 400,000 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with asthma and more than 500,000 Minnesotans have either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.

“As the costs for prescription drugs go up, the quality of life for Minnesotans trying to manage their chronic conditions goes down,” said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield). “By capping the costs of insulin, epi-pens and asthma medications, as well as expensive medical supplies, we will significantly reduce costs, putting more money in the pockets of Minnesotans while improving the quality of their health care." 

House committees are taking public testimony, finalizing markups, and passing major supplemental budget bills all week to meet an April 8 deadline for bills to continue advancing in the legislative process.