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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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Legislative update re: new laws on July 1

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

A whole host of new laws are set to take effect in Minnesota on July 1, coinciding with the start of the new fiscal year. But, before we get to that, I want to wish you a happy and safe Independence Day holiday weekend. As always, please do your part to support our local businesses!

As for new laws, just a couple of highlights include a $6.5 billion transportation package for 2018-19 and a 2-percent increase in K-12 funding each of the next two years.

For transportation, there is a $300 million increase in General Fund spending, $940 million in bonding and a $75 annual surcharge on electric motor vehicles set to take effect. Almost $1.9 billion of the transportation funding is appropriated for the construction, reconstruction and improvement of state highways. Additional funds are used for design and engineering work along with construction project management. New law directs taxes already collected on rental cars, leased cars and the purchase of auto parts to roads and bridges instead of the general fund. The influx of more than $300 million for roads is provided over the next two years, including:

  • $16 million for cities under 5,000 citizens
  • $102 million for trunk highways
  • $48 million for counties
  • $15 million for cities

Over the next four years, Otter Tail County will receive a significant $3.6 million increase in road funding. Fergus Falls will receive more than $286,000 in new local street aid during that span. The small-city funding will help many towns in the region. Perham, for instance, is set to receive more than $60,000 more over the next two years alone for road repairs.

The K-12 education budget which is set to hit the books includes more than $1.3 billion in increased funding (2 percent more each of the next two years as requested by our schools).

Fergus Falls will receive approximately $1.1 million in new funding the next two years, while Perham ($662,297) and Pelican Rapids ($423,852) and Battle Lake ($423,852) are other examples of local funding increases.

While tax changes do not specifically take effect July 1, the 2017 tax bill delivers $650 million in tax relief to Minnesota families over the next two years, and $790 million in 2020-2021. The following highlights all are in effect for either tax year 2017 (for filings made in 2018), or in calendar year 2018 (the property tax provisions):

  • Social security tax relief for nearly 284,000 senior citizen tax returns (single and married filing jointly).
  • Property tax relief for small business owners by eliminating the state property tax on the first $100,000 of value on commercial real estate
  • An increased child care tax credit so a family of four making $50,000 will get $1,200 more
  • A student loan credit that will give 65,000 students an average of a $414 reduction
  • A 40% reduction in school levy property taxes on farmland

The omnibus higher education bill I authored as House chairman of that respective committee also takes effect, providing $3.28 billion in funding during the 2018-19 biennium, a base funding increase of $210 million. This includes $1.45 billion to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, an increase of $106 million in 2018-19. Students at two-year colleges and four-year universities Minnesota State schools will see a tuition freeze in the 2018-19 school year.

Have a good Fourth and we’ll be back with more legislative news after the holiday.

Sincerely,

Bud

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