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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, May 11, 2018
Dear Neighbors,
As a member of the House Taxes Committee, it is my goal to ensure that Minnesota’s tax code and system work well for everyday Minnesotans. Part of that is looking for common-sense solutions to the problems facing our state.
This week in the taxes committee, we heard two bills that accomplish this goal.
The first piece of legislation, House File 4395, would provide a property tax credit of $50 per acre for property required to be maintained as a buffer under the state’s riparian buffer law.

For the land to be eligible, it would have to meet one of these qualifications:
  • the land must have been tillable land prior to its conversion to a riparian buffer
  • a buffer is required to be maintained on the property according to Minnesota state law and is mapped on a buffer-protection map established and maintained by the DNR
  • the land must not be enrolled in a conservation program that provides income to the landowner
  • the land has not been compensated for damages
  • the landowner is not subject to an enforcement action
This is a common-sense step we can take as lawmakers to help out farmers that may have lost tillable land to the state’s buffer law in recent years. It remains to be seen whether or not this bill will become law this year but I commend the author for bringing the issue forward and am supportive.
The second piece of legislation heard in committee would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall for voters to approve or reject—dedicating already existing sales tax revenue from the sale of motor vehicle repair and replacement parts to state and local roads.
Many may be surprised to hear that motor vehicle repair and replacement sales taxes are not already dedicated to fixing roads and bridges. Instead, that revenue is currently put in the state’s general fund.
For too many years, there has been a funding shortfall as it relates to our roads and bridges. Instead of raising the gas tax or generating new revenue, why not use revenues from existing sales taxes and dedicate them to fixing our transportation infrastructure? It only makes sense. The bill was passed out of committee on a voice vote with Republicans supporting the bill and the majority of DFLers voting against. 
Much like the last bill, this also came late in the process and it is unclear if there is enough time for both legislative bodies to approve this bill in time for the question to be on this fall’s ballot. Nevertheless, I support the idea behind a dedicated revenue source for our roads and bridges and hope we can get this across the finish line.
Staying in Touch
As always, if you have any questions regarding this legislation or any other matter of state government, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I can be contacted by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at
Thank you and have a great weekend,
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