The House began the 2017 session with a heavy focus on tax relief and increasing funding for roads and bridges. I guess you could say we delivered big-time.
The Legislature has now adjourned for the year and the accomplishments we made in both areas, with $650 million in tax relief and $300 million more for transportation during the next two years alone, are really what will be remembered about the 2017 session.
The House and Senate early this morning concluded a brief special session, passing the final bills that comprise the state’s 2018-19 budget. In all, the Legislature passed seven bills during special session: taxes, transportation, state government, health and human services, K-12 education, capital investment and labor standards.
The tax bill represents the largest tax cut in nearly two decades for Minnesota families with that $650 million in the 2018-19 biennium and roughly $750 million in tax relief in 2020-21. It includes relief for seniors on social security, college graduates with student loan debt, and property tax relief for farmers and Minnesota businesses.
It is especially gratifying to see the tax relief for seniors. For too long Minnesota has been an outlier among states in that it is one of very few to fully tax Social Security income. The bill we passed will correct that problem and leave more money in the pockets of seniors each month.
In addition, Republicans championed and the Legislature approved the largest investment in road and bridge infrastructure in state history without an increase in the gas tax or license tab fees. It will mean billions more for transportation over the next 10 years.
In all, the Legislature sent 10 budget bills, a $995 million bonding bill and a labor standards bill to the governor’s desk for his signature.
I will provide more details regarding other budget bills and provisions with local benefits in upcoming emails.
Have a good Memorial Day weekend and please be safe out on the roads and lakes.