For more information contact: Tim Obrien
I wanted to share with you some recent information our work during the productive 2013-14 legislative session to make our tax system tilt toward middle-class Minnesotans instead of wealthy special interests.
According to nonpartisan fact checkers at Minnesota Public Radio’s PoliGraph blog, most people, including most middle-class Minnesotans, are going to be seeing lower taxes as opposed to higher taxes due the actions of the 2013-14 state legislature. Overall, a little more than half of Minnesota’s 4.2 million adult individuals will see a reduction in their taxes.
You might ask, didn’t the legislature raise taxes? The truth is, in 2013 we did raise some taxes. The legislature faced a $627 million deficit and we owed our schools nearly $1 billion. We raised taxes, but largely on the wealthiest 2% of income earners and by closing corporate tax loopholes. We eliminated the deficit and made new investments to grow the middle class, such as providing all-day Kindergarten for every child, freezing tuition for college students, boosting property tax refunds for homeowners and renters as well as providing incentives for business expansions.
Due to our balanced budget and growing economy, we had a $1.2 billion surplus in 2014 instead of a deficit. And we made it our top priority to put middle-class Minnesotans first with middle-class tax cuts.
The facts show our approach is working well. Minnesota regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession, businesses are expanding and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Here is a closer look at the DFL-led Legislature’s work to build a fairer tax system:
Tax Cuts for Middle-Class Minnesotans: During the 2014 Session, we enacted tax cuts for more than two million middle-class Minnesotans through federal conformity, including married couples, working families, homeowners, college students and parents.
First property tax reduction in a decade: Property taxes have more than doubled over the last decade, with increases falling hardest on the middle class, seniors, and small businesses. The legislature delivered $177 million in direct relief to homeowners, renters, and farmers. Thanks to that direct relief, property taxes are going down statewide for the first time in a decade.
Asking the Richest 2% to Pay Their Fair Share: For many years, corporations and the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans (who earn an average $617,000 per year) have seen no tax increases, while our budget deficits were balanced on the backs of property taxpayers, students and our seniors. We changed course toward priorities in-line with the views of Minnesotans. We asked the wealthiest Minnesotans to pay just 2% more in income taxes and we closed corporate tax loopholes in order to balance our deficit and make needed investments in education, job creation and middle-class property tax relief.
Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes: For years, corporate tax loopholes have given some large businesses an unfair advantage, sheltering them from paying some state taxes. We closed those loopholes, providing over $250 million to invest in better education and job creation.
After a decade of being squeezed to protect the wealthiest Minnesotans and big corporations, most middle-class Minnesotans are going to be seeing lower taxes while getting more bang for their buck, including bigger property tax refunds, all-day Kindergarten, a two-year college tuition freeze and much more.
A fairer tax system and strong middle class is exactly what Minnesota needs to prosper and thrive. I look forward to visiting with you this summer and fall to talk more about how we can keep Minnesota moving forward.
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