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

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News from Representative Gruenhagen 01-26-2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dear Friends,

I hope you had a pleasant weekend. On Saturday, Governor Dayton signed into law the bill passed earlier this month by the House, and on Thursday by the Senate, to provide $20 million in immediate tax relief for Minnesota families.

Teachers, college students, and homeowners will now all be able to take full advantage of tax deductions available under the federal tax code.

The bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate and I hope is a sign that both parties are committed to helping ease the tax burden on families.

Bonding Levy Flexibility

Last week in an effort to give school districts greater flexibility in bonding levy decisions, I introduced House File 224 which would give school districts three options when making levy bonding requests.

Under current law, districts are only able to levy for bond funding on a per-acre basis for farms, resulting in a large amount of bonding levy funds being borne by farmers and farming/agriculture businesses with acres of land.
 
This bill would provide two additional options for schools when bonding for new construction. One of these options would give schools the ability to levy on a residence plus one acre for each property in the school district, which is how traditional school operating levies are currently applied. The other option would give schools the ability to levy on half the value of the total acreage or commercial business.

It's my goal to empower local school boards with tools and flexibility in working with their local communities when passing facility bonding referendums. There's no need to pit our farmers and in-town residents against each other. If voters approve a higher levy request for bonding projects, this bill would allow them to share in that burden more equally.
 
I introduced this legislation in response to concerns I've been hearing from farmers and businesses who are impacted by bonding levy requests that are passed by residents. This legislation would give Greater Minnesota school districts more options, and may reduce the overwhelming opposition bonding levy requests typically face from farmers and owners of large parcels of land.
 
This legislation is a good compromise for residents in all parts of our Greater Minnesota cities and townships.
 
I also plan to explore legislation that would allow the state to pay a matching portion of facility bonding levies for rural school districts with small towns and primarily farming communities similar to how the state currently matches operating levy referendums.
 
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4229.
 
Glenn
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