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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) said there were more positives than negatives to be found in Minnesota's recent state budget forecast, which shows a $1.65 billion budget surplus. This is roughly $250 million more than the previous projection made in November.


“This is good news as it gives us an opportunity to do more with middle class tax relief, which is our Number One priority this session,” Torkelson said. “As I can tell you from experience, a surplus projection is always much easier to deal with than a deficit.”


Rising state income tax projections, up by $274 million, and corporate tax projections, up $69 million, are the top reasons Minnesota’s budget surplus has grown.


“We can congratulate the hardworking people that pay their taxes,” Torkelson said. “You contributed this money and created this surplus, now we will hopefully find ways to give you some tax relief this session.”


The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved legislation that would allow the implementation of Real ID. Without it, Minnesota driver’s licenses can no longer be used to board a domestic airline flight or access federal buildings or military bases in January, 2018.


Under the House bill, Minnesota residents would be able to choose a Real ID compliant driver's license or a non-compliant license if they have data privacy concerns. 


“Many states already adopted this legislation and now we have begun that process,” Torkelson saidl “It’s important to get this done because if we don’t, it could become very difficult to board an airplane or visit your sons and daughters on military bases next year.”


The REAL ID bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate for further debate.