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State Representative Nick Zerwas

433 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4237

For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522

Posted: 2017-06-05
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update: Budget Highlights


Greetings,

The 2017 Legislative Session came to an official ending last Tuesday evening when the Governor signed the Legislature’s proposed budget into law.

While I am disappointed that neither my bill to increase penalties for those who intentionally block a freeway, an airport, or the light rail train, nor my bill to reform solitary confinement within our prison system were not included in the final budget, this was a very productive session and I proud of what was accomplished. 

Breakdown of the Budget:

Taxes: The tax bill provides $650 million in middle class tax relief over the next two years (2018-2019) and $790 million in 2020-2021; the largest tax relief package in nearly 2 decades.

  • Nearly 284,000 senior citizens will receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those will no longer pay any state income tax on their social security benefits.
  • A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 toward their child care expenses.
  • 65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a new tax credit for student loan payments.
  • Every Minnesota business owner will see relief from an “extra” business tax.

The tax bill also provides a $15 million statewide increase for Local Government Aid and a $25.5 million statewide increase for County Program Aid to help local governments pay for essential services.

  • Sherburne County: 9% increase
  • Wright County: 10% increase

Transportation: The transportation budget prioritizes the state’s need of road and bridge repairs and improvements responsibly by using existing funds from auto-related revenue sources. In the next two years alone, an additional $300 million will be devoted to the state’s transportation infrastructure; this is will be the largest investment in our roads and bridges in state history without raising the gas tax.

Education: The K12 education budget invests an additional $1.3 billion in our students, as well as make some significant reforms:

  • Ending the default "Last In, First Out" layoff policy to ensure schools can keep the best teachers in the classroom.
  • Expanding pre-K scholarships.
  • Overhauling the broken teacher licensure system in order to help schools address teacher shortages.

Funding Increase by District:

  • Big Lake: 3.2%
  • Elk River: 3.2%
  • Monticello: 3.2%

Sherburne County Law Library: I authored a bill this session that would allow the Sherburne County Law Library to use funds collected through user fees in order to furnish its space during the expansion and renovation of the Sherburne Government Center. While this bill was originally vetoed by the Governor, it was later amended into a section of the budget and ultimately signed into law. This legislation, now law, will serve as an effective self-investment tool for our law library.

 

If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-4237, or rep.nick.zerwas@house.mn

Sincerely,

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