For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895
I hope your Memorial Day weekend was relaxing and that you had a chance to observe the sacrifice our military men and women. This email update will talk about some of our major budget bills in a bit more detail than last week. The Governor has signed all of our budget bills into law, so the following provisions will come into effect very shortly.
As I mentioned last week, our tax bill will provide $660 million in tax relief for our middle class, including senior citizens on fixed incomes, families saving for college, small businesses, and more. Specifics of our plan include:
$117 million in relief for Minnesota’s senior citizens. Under this bill, nearly 284,000 senior citizen tax returns (single and married filing jointly) would receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those would no longer pay state income tax on their benefits.
A provision I have carried for the last few years that would provide families with $20 million in subtractions and credits for saving for college using 529 Savings Plans.
$36 million for families with young children by modifying the child and dependent care credit.
$95 million in relief for hometown businesses by exempting the first $100,000 in property value from the extra tax on businesses and freezing its automatic inflator.
Last week I also touched on the fact that our transportation bill invests a huge amount into a 10 year plan to repair and build roads and bridges around the state. Again, this is the largest transportation funding package we have ever passed in Minnesota without raising the gas tax or license tab fees. Specific provisions included:
$25 million to fund over 97 bridges on MNDOT's priority list
Statewide investment in roads: $102 million in trunk highway, $48 million for counties, $15 million for cities.
Ensuring that state funding will not be used to cover for operating costs of the proposed Southwest Light Rail.
Additional funds for flexible transit options.
Education Funding and Reforms
We made huge strides in funding schools in our schools, in addition to placing and keeping well-qualified teachers in our classrooms.
Our education bill, which was agreed upon by the Legislature and Governor Dayton, includes $1.35 billion in new education funding over the current biennium, including an increase to the per pupil funding formula of 2 percent each year. This means that District 196 will see a total increase of over $7,819,000 over the next two years.
Other policy and funding provisions included:
Focus all new scholarship funding to Pathway I scholarships which go directly to help families choose quality early education programs that best fit their budget, schedule and child’s needs.
Continue Minnesota’s nation-leading mixed delivery system of quality early education programming and scholarships.
Provide $50 million in additional one-time funding to allow districts to develop early learning programs that best fit the needs of their students and families, choosing from either voluntary pre-kindergarten or school readiness which allows for more flexibility.
Overhauls our broken teacher licensure system, replacing the troubled Board of Teaching with a new Professional Educator License and Standards Board following recommendations by the Office of the Legislative Auditor and Teacher Licensing Work Group.
Continues efforts to strengthen teacher recruitment and retention, funding innovative programs including Grow Your Own, alternative teacher preparation, teacher loan forgiveness programs, and agriculture educator grants.
Repeal the “last in, first out” default in state statute to allow schools and local bargaining units to negotiate mutually beneficial staff retention decisions that better serve students, teachers and schools.
Protect kids by permitting school districts to provide child sexual abuse prevention instruction.
Protect kids’ health by requiring school districts to test for the presence of lead in water of public school buildings.
Create a new, targeted academic achievement initiative that funds before school, afterschool and summer programs to help low-income students who are falling behind their grade-level peers.
The Minnesota Zoo funding bill that I chief authored was included in the Legacy Funding Finance bill at the level of $3.5 million over the next two years.
An additional $4 million in state bonds was included for the Minnesota Zoo in our Capital Investment bill. I am so pleased that this funding will go to the Minnesota Zoo so they continue the great work they do, and grow as an asset to our community and state.
Also included in the bonding bill was over $12 million to fund the Orange Line bus system that would serve our area of the metro suburbs.
All these reforms, and more were accomplished this session, making it one of the most productive sessions in our state’s history. I look forward to being home in our district and sharing even more of what we accomplished this year with you.
IN OUR COMMUNITY
On Memorial Day I had the honor of attending the Rosemount and Apple Valley Memorial Day Services to honor and remember our fallen heroes. It was a privilege to observe Memorial Day with the service men and women who live in our community.
District 196 Legislative Review
On Wednesday, May 31st, I joined several of my colleagues and District 196 Legislative Advisory Council members to discuss education initiatives that passed or didn't pass in the 2017 Session. It is always so helpful to get the feedback and thoughts of those on the front-lines of educating our students here in our community. Thank you for having us and for all that you do to invest in children!
Keep in Touch
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills and Twitter at https://twitter.com/annacwills.
Have a wonderful weekend!
State Representative, District 57B
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