By Rep. Paul Anderson
Although the month of October may seem far away, that’s an important date for those who utilize airline travel.
After what seems like years of negotiating, Oct. 1 is the hard deadline for having improved identification when flying. After that date, the standard Minnesota driver’s license will NOT suffice to prove one's identity in order to board an airplane for domestic travel.
Residents have several choices, with what’s called Real ID being one of them. Another choice is the “Enhanced ID. ” A standard passport issued by the federal government will also allow entry on all kinds of flights, domestic and international, while a passport card is only sufficient for domestic airline travel.
It’s estimated that roughly 10 percent of Minnesota residents have gone through the process and received their new ID, and officials urge not waiting until the last few weeks before starting the process. There could be a rush of applications as the deadline approaches, and that could cause headaches.
The Real ID and the Enhanced ID will also serve as drivers licenses, and after Oct. 1, the standard Minnesota driver’s license cannot be used to board domestic flights or enter certain federal facilities. To obtain either of these new licenses/IDs, one will need to prove his or her identity, prove they have a Social Security number, and also prove their residence. All documents used for proof must be original or certified copies. Every name change a person has undergone must also be documented, so this could present a bit of a challenge for women who have been married or divorced.
The main difference between the two new Minnesota IDs is that the enhanced version contains a radio frequency ID chip and will allow entry into Canada and Mexico. Both will allow entrance onto domestic airline flights, as will a passport card. But remember, as is currently the law, only a valid passport is acceptable for entry onto international flights.
For those who may be hesitant about applying for these new IDs, and who still want to utilize airline travel, a passport will satisfy the requirement for identification. And a passport card, one that can be carried in a billfold, will be sufficient for airline travel within the United States.
We go back into session next Tuesday, the 11th of February. The state of the Minnesota economy is quite good, with a budget surplus of $1.3 billion projected two months ago. I am expecting that amount to be even larger, around 1.5 billion, when the next forecast is released at the end of February.
Because of that surplus, there are calls for renewed spending this session. Because the two-year budget was set last year, there does NOT have to be any increased, supplemental spending passed this year.
The highest priority on my list is to work on a tax bill that addresses Section 179 depreciation for farmers and other business owners. Because of changes in how the feds treat like-kind exchanges, the value of items that are traded on newer equipment can now be classified as income. This has resulted in many farmers and business owners receiving letters from the Dept. of Revenue with tax bills going back to 2018. Many of those bills are quite large, with some even reaching six figures!
The other major item legislators will work on this year is a bonding bill. Gov. Tim Walz released his bonding proposal several weeks ago, and it was huge – with about $2.5 billion in various projects listed. That number will probably come down considerably when all the negotiating is done. There will be a strong push for additional funding for local roads and bridges, and local units of government should get some of those additional dollars.