For more information contact: Caitlyn Stenerson 651-296-5989
On Wednesday, April 29, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed $2 billion in much-needed tax relief for hardworking Minnesotans.
I’m pleased to report that we were able to target the tax relief to several different groups of Minnesotans including families, college students, aging adults & veterans, farmers and job creators & innovators. Some of the highlights of the House tax bill include:
Minnesota Families: $538.6M to give Minnesotans relief through a new state version of the personal or dependent tax exemption
College Students: $130.6M for college, technical, and trade schools students in tax relief through a new tax credit for principal and interest payments on student plans
Aging Adults: $236.7M in relief to aging adults living on fixed income by phasing out the tax on social security
Veterans: $51.6 million in relief to veterans by no longer subjecting military pay and pensions to income tax
Jobs & Innovation: $453.3 million to lower prices for consumers and increase wages for employees by modifying and phasing out the statewide general property tax
I’m pleased that our tax relief proposal benefits individuals pursuing degrees at colleges and tech schools, aging adults who are planning for their futures, families with young children and innovators working to grow jobs in Minnesota.
Two years ago at about this time, we were debating the size of the tax increase that Minnesotans would have to shoulder when state government was controlled by a single political party. I’m thrilled the conversation has now shifted – led by House Republicans – to providing tax relief to Minnesotans. After the $2.1 billion tax increase imposed upon hardworking Minnesotans – which disproportionally burdened those in our community – I’m hoping our colleagues in the Senate and the governor will move in the direction of reducing the tax burden on Minnesota families.
In February, officials with the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) announced that our state has a projected $1.9 billion surplus. After this news broke, some in St. Paul saw it as an opportunity to spend even more of the hard-earned dollars of Minnesota taxpayers. That’s not the balanced approach Minnesotans asked for last November.
According to MMB documents, the surplus is in large part due to the fact that cheaper oil prices have allowed consumers to divert their spending toward non-gasoline purchases. It also clearly reflects the degree to which the state has over-taxed Minnesotans.
At a time when Minnesota families are seeing some relief at the pump with lower gas prices, we should shouldn't be making it more expensive for Minnesotans to drop their kids off at school and get to work – as the governor has proposed. Imposing a new gas tax on Minnesotans would be a heavy and unnecessary strain on family budgets.
As part of his transportation package, the governor also proposed an increase in the 7-county metro sales tax to generate $2.8 billion for new transit spending. After we recently discovered that the cost of the proposed Southwest Light Rail line is estimated at close to $2 billion – $341 million more than anticipated – we should be focused on prioritizing roads and bridges as we decide how to best spend our tax dollars for transportation. Given the projected surplus, we certainly shouldn’t be talking about imposing higher taxes on Minnesotans.
Furthermore, a surplus is not a mandate to simply spend more. The hardworking taxpayers of Minnesota have been overtaxed and some in St. Paul have been far too eager to spend their money. While the State of Minnesota may be enjoying a surplus in its budget, most families in our state are not experiencing that same luxury.
As a legislator, I take my job seriously to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Tax dollars sent to St. Paul come straight out of the budgets of families in our community. As the representative of my neighbors and fellow community members, I believe it’s my job to make sensible decisions with those tax dollars – including providing tax relief.
I believe Minnesotans know best how to spend their hard-earned dollars and that’s why the Minnesota House has prioritized tax relief.
While much can change as negotiations with the Senate and the governor take place, it’s my hope that we’ll be able to help Minnesotans keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
As always, I encourage you to contact my office with your thoughts, comments, concerns, and ideas for legislation. I greatly appreciate having heard from so many of you! You can e-mail at email@example.com. You can call me at (651) 296-4315. Mail can be sent to Rep. Cindy Pugh, 411 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155. If you haven’t yet contacted me but would like to weigh in, I’d love to hear you.
Rep. Cindy Pugh