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

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Monday, May 21, 2018

ST. PAUL – Tax relief for many Minnesotans and new money for schools and roads were among the end-of-session highlights in 2018 according to State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska).


“We did our jobs and approved a number of bills that Minnesotans really need addressed this year,” Torkelson said. “Many of them were approved on a bipartisan basis and are now awaiting action from the governor.”


Maybe the most important proposal that received legislative approval deals with tax relief and conformity. Torkelson said the bill is needed in order to conform to the new federal tax laws and not created income tax filing headaches next year. Under the plan, nearly all Minnesotans would see tax reductions or be held harmless by the tax changes. It also simplifies Minnesota's tax code and provides the first income tax rate cut in nearly 20 years.


In K-12 Education, more than $225 million is made available to help students and would provide additional flexibility for school districts to address budget shortfalls. The Legislature also approved provisions allocating funds for school safety, and allowing school districts to decide the best to improve their facilities and keep students safe.


Torkelson said a capital investment proposal that will fund construction projects across Minnesota also passed. This would allow for another significant investment into road and bridge repair, including $400 million into the Corridors of Commerce funding stream. A large portion of this funding will go towards Highway 14 from Owatonna to Dodge Center and Highway 23 between Willmar and St. Cloud.


“These are good, strong bills and I’m hoping the governor sees their value and signs them into law very soon,” Torkelson concluded.