ST. PAUL – Omnibus bills pertaining to two of the House’s top priorities – school safety and taxes – have received initial House passage with bipartisan support, setting the stage for negotiations with the governor.
The tax bill approved by the House on today includes a historic income tax rate reduction. More than 2.1 million Minnesota filers would benefit from the House’s proposal in tax year 2018. The second-tier income tax rate from 7.05 percent to 6.75 percent by tax year 2020.
“That would mark the first reduction to our state income tax in almost 20 years,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “Our main goals are to hold as many Minnesotans harmless as possible as we adapt to massive tax changes at the federal level, while at the same time providing real relief for the middle class.”
The omnibus education bill approved by the House late last week features numerous provisions geared toward improving school building security and providing greater mental health resources for children. Urdahl said House is aiming to provide local citizens and school officials with the resources and flexibility to make decisions that suit their particular needs.
A provision in the education bill is one Urdahl personally authored requiring schools to offer a civics class for credit to either juniors or seniors. Urdahl said aggregate data would be collected by the Department of Education in the hopes of learning more about students’ overall civics awareness.
“Recent studies show only one in four Minnesota students are proficient on the subject of civics,” Urdahl said. “I believe that is partially the unintended consequence of social studies having been de-emphasized as greater priority is placed on science, technology, math and engineering curriculum. My goal is to restore some balance and this proposal would help point us in the right direction.”