It has been nice to see local people out and about attending events throughout District 18A this summer. I have received very helpful input everywhere from parades to the local ice cream social circuit.
As for news from St. Paul, it was good to recently learn state revenue has exceeded previous projections by $235 million over April, May and June, completing the fiscal year on an uptick after a string of four underperforming months. The caveat is this: We still face expenditures related to launching Obamacare in Minnesota that could drive us to a shortfall by the time we reach the 2015 legislative session.
The current $235 million figure largely was driven by individual income tax payments exceeding projections by $181 million. Meantime, corporate tax collections were $53 million less than expected.
As for property taxes, we received some highly disappointing news this week. We have been told time and time again that the majority’s 2013 budget provided the first real tax relief in a generation, using that as a key selling point in raising our taxes by $2 billion, yet a new report confirms property taxes are actually rising.
A non-partisan analysis by Minnesota House research shows that statewide property tax levies are projected to rise by $238 million – a 92 percent increase from last year's $124 million spike. We already knew farmers and landowners in parts of the state like ours were going to face property tax increases, but now it appears homeowners in all tax brackets will be hit with larger bills.
The overall property tax increases are projected to rise by 3.3 percent in Greater Minnesota and 2.4 percent in the Metro Area. Based on a statewide average, residential homesteads can expect a 3.8 percent increase and agricultural property is expected to jump 4.7 percent.
On another note, Minnesotans who do not receive health insurance through their employers or through government programs like Medicaid or Medicare also are paying more. A recent study by the Manhattan Institute shows a 40-year-old in either Meeker or McLeod counties faces an 84-percent increase. The same person pays 61 percent more in Wright. The statewide average is 47 percent. Click here to see county-by-county rate info.
Let me know if you have any thoughts on these or other issues and I will continue directly reaching out to constituents. But, unfortunately, House rules stipulate these periodic email updates I send must cease until after the November election since we are now 60 days past the end of the 2014 session.