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State Representative Jeff Howe

527 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4373

For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520

Posted: 2017-05-11
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Legislative Update

Legislative update from Rep. Howe


Dear Neighbor,

The Legislature has provided final approval of several budget bills this week, sending them to the governor for his action. The remaining few should arrive on his desk soon.

Before we get to the budget bills, I would like to note that on Tuesday, the House approved a proposal Sen. Fischbach and I have authored to name a stretch of Highway 23 in Paynesville in honor of a fallen war hero Kenneth L. Olson. Spc. Olson was a 1963 Paynesville High School graduate who went on to serve in the U.S. Army and earned a Medal of Honor. He made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, giving up his own life to spare nearby fellow soldiers. He was a true American hero and I am proud to have authored this bill, which was sent to the Senate for a vote. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on Monday so it can be sent to the governor for his anticipated enactment.

Taxes and transportation are two of the most noteworthy finance packages we passed. The tax bill provides $1.15 billion in relief over the next two years, including a $218 million reduction on the state tax on Social Security income.

With this bill, we have approved a large number of provisions that will put more money in the pockets of Minnesota families, Main Street businesses and beyond. This will relieve the burden felt by our taxpayers, who have been overburdened by our government continuing to take more money than it needs to feed spending growth. This tax bill is key in enacting a responsible new state budget.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • $218 million in relief for Minnesota’s senior citizens by increasing the income limit thresholds for the taxation of social security income.
  • More than $70 million to address college affordability through a first-in-the-nation tax credit for student loan payments, along with subtractions and credits for families saving for college using 529 Savings Plans. 65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a tax credit for student loan payments.
  • $35 million in relief for farmers by reducing the burden farmers and agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums. Approximately 240,000 farmers could receive property tax relief to reduce their disproportionate share of school district debt service.
  • $36 million for families with young children by modifying the child and dependent care credit. A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 towards their child care expenses.
  • $126 million in relief for hometown businesses by exempting the first $150,000 in property value from the extra tax on businesses and freezing its automatic inflator.

The transportation package which received approval invests $5.5 billion over the next 10 years in the state’s transportation needs without raising taxes. The plan includes $2 billion for roads and bridges in the next two years.

The proposal uses transportation-related state tax revenues to invest $372 million in new dollars for roads and bridges. Additionally, the transportation proposal would fund:

  • $20 million in FY18/19 for Small Cities Assistance Program for cities under 5,000
  • $25 million to fund over 97 bridges on MNDOT's priority list
  • Statewide investment in roads: $150m in trunk highway, $70m for counties, $22m for cities

Look for more on these and other subjects as we come down to the wire on our May 22 date of adjournment.

Good luck,

Jeff

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