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

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Recap of week at the Capitol

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

It has been a busy week at the Capitol as the Legislature approved several omnibus finance packages and sent them to the governor for his decisions.

Before we get to those highlights, I want to mention Sen. Dahms and I invite District 16A residents to attend a series of town hall meetings we will be hosting to recap the session and talk about other issues on Thursday, May 25.

Here is the schedule:

  • Marshall: 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. (YMCA, 200 South A St.)
  • Canby: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (City Hall council chamber, city administrative office building, 110 Oscar Ave. N.)
  • Madison: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (City Hall Auditorium, 404 – 6th Ave.)
  • Dawson: 1 – 2:00 p.m. (City Building, 675 Chestnut St.)
  • Granite Falls: 3 – 4 p.m. (City Hall council chamber, 641 Prentice St.)

As for the budget work, one of the bills we approved provides $1.15 billion in relief over the next two years, including a $218 million reduction on the state tax on Social Security income.

We should remember that hard work by people in our area and throughout the state is what generated the $1.65 billion budget surplus our state is experiencing. The House is committed to putting money back in the pockets of those overtaxed Minnesotans and this bill helps us do that, with reductions for families who use child care, farmers, Main Street businesses, college students and others.

A provision I authored is featured in the bill, providing $39 million to reduce construction costs for cities and counties through a sales-tax exemption for contractors doing projects for them.

Other highlights of the bill include:

  • $218 million in relief for Minnesota’s senior citizens by increasing the income limit thresholds for the taxation of social security income.
  • More than $70 million to address college affordability through a first-in-the-nation tax credit for student loan payments, along with subtractions and credits for families saving for college using 529 Savings Plans. 65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a tax credit for student loan payments.
  • $35 million in relief for farmers by reducing the burden farmers and agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums. Approximately 240,000 farmers could receive property tax relief to reduce their disproportionate share of school district debt service.
  • $36 million for families with young children by modifying the child and dependent care credit. A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 towards their child care expenses.
  • $126 million in relief for hometown businesses by exempting the first $150,000 in property value from the extra tax on businesses and freezing its automatic inflator.

We also approved a comprehensive transportation package which would provide $5.5 billion over the next 10 years for the state’s transportation needs without raising taxes. The plan includes $2 billion for roads and bridges in the next two years.

The proposal uses transportation-related state tax revenues to invest $372 million in new dollars for roads and bridges. Additionally, the transportation proposal would fund:

  • $20 million in FY18/19 for Small Cities Assistance Program for cities under 5,000
  • $25 million to fund over 97 bridges on MNDOT's priority list
  • Statewide investment in roads: $150m in trunk highway, $70m for counties, $22m for cities

Look for more updates from St. Paul as we enter the final stretch of the session before we are scheduled to adjourn May 22. We are bent on getting our work done on time and will wait to see how the governor responds to the budget bills we are sending him.