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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative Update (5-27-16)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dear Neighbors,

The 2016 legislative session adjourned for the year this past Sunday. Although the hectic end of session is receiving most of the headlines in the news, there were a number of important and positive things that were accomplished these last two years.

These accomplishments include putting more money into our schools, enacting generational reforms for rural nursing homes, strengthening our 2nd Amendment rights, investing in broadband expansion, increasing oversight of MNsure and keeping government growth at one of the lowest rates in the last 50 years.

Over the weekend, the House and Senate passed a tax bill that will bring $801 million in tax relief to Minnesotans over the next three years, including more than half a billion in ongoing, permanent tax relief.

Working families with young children, small businesses, veterans, college graduates, farmers and local governments will all benefit from this bipartisan piece of legislation.

Highlights include:

  • Increased Local Government Aid: $10 million annual increase in the county program; $20 million to cities
  • Exempting veterans retirement benefits from state income tax
  • $150 million in tax relief for working families by expanding the working family tax credit. This reduces the tax burden for an estimated 386,000 low- and middle-income filers
  • $110 million in tax relief for college graduates paying off student loans through a refundable tax credit up to $1,000, the first of its kind in the country
  • $49 million in tax relief for families who contribute to 529 plans to save for their children's college costs
  • $146 million in tax relief for every small business in Minnesota by exempting the first $100,000 of commercial-industrial property. This is projected to save Minnesota businesses $115 million in the next biennium
  • $32 million to reduce the cost of childcare by expanding the childcare tax credit, families could earn a tax credit up to a $960
  • $2,000 tax credit for parents of a stillborn child
  • $91 million in tax relief for Minnesota farmers

In addition to tax relief, the House and Senate agreed on a bonding bill that would invest $700 million in roads and bridges across the state as well as fund critical public works projects.

Local projects in the bill include funding for the Canby Impoundment Dam and the construction of a new studio for Pioneer Public Television in Granite Falls. Other items of note include dollars for township, county, and small town road repairs. Overall, it was an outstanding bill that focused on projects that have a real impact on their communities.

The House did its part and passed the bill on a broad bipartisan vote of 91-39. However, the legislation stalled in the Senate when an amendment was added that would have expanded taxing authority to fund light rail trains in the Twin Cities. This action went against the agreed upon language between the House and Senate, thus putting substantial road and bridge funding in jeopardy.

So where do we go from here?

House leaders have called on Governor Dayton to bring legislators back to St. Paul for a one day special session so we can finish our work. Stay tuned for developments as news becomes available.

In the meantime, please be sure to contact me to share your thoughts and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5374 or via email at