For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update from the Capitol.
HIGHLIGHTS IN THIS UPDATE:
Special Session Negotiations
Special session negotiations are ongoing between Governor Dayton and House and Senate leadership over transportation, bonding and a tax relief bill. While no agreement has been reached at this time, negotiations are reportedly making progress with a mid-August time frame for special session under consideration.
As you may recall, last month Governor Dayton pocket vetoed an overwhelmingly bipartisan tax relief bill that would have provided more than $800 million in tax cuts over the next three years for families, college graduates, veterans and small businesses. A joint transportation and bonding bill also failed to be sent to the governor. After passing the House, a handful of senators added an amendment to the package allowing Hennepin County property taxes to be raised via the Hennepin County Rail Authority to provide the additional funding needed to build the Southwest Light Rail. With less than five minutes left until the constitutionally mandated adjournment time of midnight, there wasn’t time to bring the bill back to the House for consideration and another vote.
While those bills are being negotiated for a potential special session, a number of positive bills did become law this year including tax relief provisions in a bipartisan supplemental spending bill. Funding for the Angel Investor Tax Credit was included in the bill, a credit that will now be available to people who invest the maximum $10,000 in MNvest, a crowdfunding program I helped get signed into law last year. There is also a provision to eliminate the state income tax on veterans’ pensions and a stillborn tax credit of which I was a co-author.
Much more could and should have been signed into law this year to bring meaningful tax relief to Minnesotans, but I am hopeful we can move forward with a final deal for special session that includes getting the bipartisan tax bill signed into law and a transportation plan that invests some of our state’s surplus into a long-term plan for improving our roads and bridges. We also need to make long-sought reforms to Met Council as part of crafting a better way to plan and fund effective transit in the metro area. The current CTIB (Country Transit Improvement Board) model is not working, with Dakota County recently opting out and others considering the same, taking their sales tax dollars with them.
Update on the Budget
When creating the state budget, planning for new and ongoing expenditures, revenues and savings, state leaders use projected state budget forecasts put together by Minnesota Management and Budget. The most recent full budget forecast came out in February, and since then general fund revenue has exceeded the forecasted amount by $230 million.
Under current projections at the end of the biennial budget next June, the general fund balance is expected to have a surplus of over $700 million. The state’s budget reserve has a healthy balance of nearly $1.6 billion and the cash flow account balance has $350 million.
Budgeting responsibly and ensuring that state government lives within its means is important, and I will continue to work to limit government growth, invest in our shared priorities like education and transportation, and return your hard earned money through tax relief.
Last Email Update
The Minnesota Campaign Finance board requires that 60 days post-session in an election year, legislators may no longer send legislative update emails after this week. Please know, however, that my office is always available to you should you need assistance on a matter of state government. I also welcome your views, questions and suggestions on issues of interest or concern. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call my office at 651-296-7449. I am here to serve you!
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