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

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News from Representative Gruenhagen 05-01-2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dear Friends,

This week the House passed our omnibus tax bill which will provide $2 billion in tax relief, primarily targeted at helping middle class families. With such a large budget surplus, Minnesota families deserve some money back in their pockets. More than 2 million Minnesotans could see relief through a new state version of the personal or dependent exemption on their tax return, about 25% of the federal exemption.

Seniors and veterans would see relief thanks to the phase out of the social security and military retirement pay tax. Our bill expands access to the education deduction to include pre-Kindergarten expenses. College students could see student loan debt relief thanks to a new credit for student loan payments.

The bill also provides tax relief to farmers by implementing a part of a bill I chief authored earlier this session to change the way farm land is impacted by local school levies. I originally introduced HF224 which would allow local school districts 3 options to levy bonding issues for new facilities.

One of those options was to allow school districts to levy farm land at 50% per acre rather than at 100%. This option was adopted in the House omnibus tax bill and will be a direct reduction from the state general fund and will not shift the bonding levy tax to municipalities. This provision will also be retroactive on existing school district bonding levies. This is a much fairer approach for farmers. The omnibus tax bill still needs to go to conference committee with the Senate and be signed by the Governor. I will keep you posted.

The House also passed our omnibus Health and Human Services Bill this week. The bill takes aggressive measures to save hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars by weeding out waste, fraud, and abuse in our public health care programs. Other states have implemented similar measures and saved taxpayers significant amounts of money.

This is an issue I've worked on for a long time. Minnesota's Department of Human Services has done a poor job in recent years of checking eligibility for a variety of health programs, and making sure we aren't providing benefits to those who don't meet income and other eligibility requirements. We owe it to taxpayers to be good stewards of their money.

Our bill helps contain health care costs, respecting the budgets of the families who fund them with tax dollars. By bending the cost curve, we've been able to reform our reimbursement system for nursing homes that will result in a much-needed funding increase. Caring for Minnesota's aging adults is an important priority, and nursing homes are in desperate need of this funding to help keep quality staff and keep their doors open.

As always, please don't hesitate to email me with your comments and questions at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn. You can also call 651-296-4229 and follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repglenngruenhagen.

Have a great weekend,

Glenn

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