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State Representative Anna Wills

491 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4306

For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895

Posted: 2016-05-27
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Legislative Update

News from Rep. Anna Wills 5-27-2016


Dear Friends,

The legislature came to a surprising end on Sunday evening. This update focuses on the end of the legislative session, and where we standing moving forward.

 

House Tax and Supplemental Budget Bills

Two significant bills that passed the House last week were the Tax bill and the Supplemental Budget bill. For the past two sessions we have made a very conscious effort to focus on what we know are priorities for Minnesotans of all ages and walks of life. This session built on our achievements from last year, including a historic investment in education, and reforms to improve housing options, care, and quality-of-life for our seniors.

 

Our tax reforms will let middle-class families and individuals keep more of their hard-earned money; including young families, college graduates with loan debt, and our veterans. Importantly, we joined the vast majority of other states in making veterans’ retirement benefits tax-exempt.

We made some great progress this year, and Minnesotans will see the benefits of that.

Both the Tax and Supplemental Budget bills passed with bipartisan support, and wait for the Governor’s signature.

Included in these bills were several provisions that I authored:

-Making the first $100,000 of business property exempt from property tax (this is a variation of a bill I authored)
-Extending a tax credit or subtraction for contributions to a 529 College Savings Plan
-Extending tax exemption for non-profits, such as 4H, at events from 5 days to 10
-Requiring the Minnesota Department of Education to post criteria on their website for non-profits applying for a food and nutrition program
-A $69,000 funding allocation for hearing-impaired preschool students to attend the Metro Deaf School
-Changes to the Manufactured Home Trust Fund, including an increase in benefit payouts to those forced to move their manufactured home
 

For more information, below are links to the House Public Information Services overviews for both bills:

Tax bill: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/sessiondaily/SDView.aspx?StoryID=10312

Supplemental Budget bill: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/sessiondaily/SDView.aspx?StoryID=10316

 

Bonding Bill

 

On Sunday evening, we passed a Bonding bill with $696.5 million in funding for roads and bridges on a bipartisan vote of 91 to 39. Also included was $4 million in asset preservation for the Minnesota Zoo. This Bonding bill was the result of an agreement between the House Majority leadership and Senate Majority leadership, and was a “down-payment” of sorts on a long-term road and bridge plan in the near future.

The bill passed the House, with bipartisan support, with no amendments other than a couple of technical amendments to get the bill in the shape that had been agreed to by both bodies. Unfortunately, once the Senate was given the Bonding bill, they attached an amendment to fund SouthWest Light Rail, breaking the bipartisan agreement that had been reached. The Senate ran out of time to send the bill back to the House, because we had adjourned, having completed our business before the constitutionally-designated deadline of 12:00AM.

 

I'm really disappointed that Senate Democrats decided to play a political game, and go back on an agreement that would have benefited so many communities across the state in significant ways. They chose funding for SouthWest Light Rail over a nearly $700 million investment in transportation infrastructure. It’s unfortunate that Senate leadership chose to back Minnesotans into a corner over light rail.

 

Right now, the hope is that Governor Dayton will call a special session in the near future, so we can pass our agreed-upon Bonding bill, which benefits the vast majority of Minnesotans and responsibly invests in transportation infrastructure.

Here is a press conference by Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt to explain the current status of the bonding bill, and a bit of information regarding the last hours of session: https://youtu.be/zzCx1pCnXTY

I will keep you updated on this situation in the next couple of months.

 

Apple Valley Chamber Lunch

On Tuesday, May 24th, I had the pleasure of attending the Apple Valley Chamber Lunch, where Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland gave a great update on the state of the city. It was great to see everyone and chat about the end of session!

 

Fresh Thyme Ribbon-Cutting

I was also excited to participate in the ribbon-cutting for Fresh Thyme in Apple Valley later that day.

 

Memorial Day Services

Rosemount, 9:00 a.m. at Central Park

Apple Valley, 11:00 a.m. at the American Legion

 

Stay in Touch

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at rep.anna.wills@house.mn or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/annacwills.

 

Sincerely,

Anna Wills

State Representative 57B

Rosemount, Apple Valley, and Coates

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