If you’ve suffered significant storm damage as a result of recent severe weather in our area, I encourage you to visit this Minnesota Department of Commerce Disaster Center intended to help Minnesotans review their insurance needs and streamline their response.
Now that the dust has settled from the 2013 legislative session, I want to let you know of several changes to state law that go into effect today (July 1). You can read about all the new laws for 2013 here, but here are some of the big ones:
Minnesota now has a new fourth tier income tax bracket at a 9.85% level on the state’s high income earners. While this tax is intended to hit wealthy Minnesotans, it will actually hit thousands of small businesses that file as S-Corps. Under this new tax, Minnesota’s income tax rate will be the second highest in the nation for comparative income and the fourth highest percentage in the nation.
In order to help finance the Vikings stadium, taxes increased overnight from $1.23 to $2.83 per-pack for cigarettes. I don’t smoke, but I don’t think we should be putting the burden of building the Vikings stadium on smokers.
Expect to pay more if you download music, videos, or books online with the new consumer sales tax on digital downloads.
If you see a spike in your electric bill in the next few months, you can attribute that to the new solar energy production mandate passed this session that goes into effect July 1. While I firmly believe we need to have a comprehensive energy policy in Minnesota, setting arbitrary renewable energy standards will make energy more costly and less reliable for all Minnesotans.
Lower Education Standards
Democrats replaced our traditional GRAD standard tests in public schools with a new set of tests that don’t require a minimum score. I’m concerned about the impact this will have on measuring performance in reading, writing and math. Students will still take college entrance exams such as the ACT.
Overreach into Childcare
Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) and home childcare providers are now authorized to form a union if union organizers collect enough signatures statewide. A union selected by some could impose mandatory monthly dues on all PCAs and childcare providers in Minnesota that receive low-income subsidies for those they care for. This may be delayed, however, because of two pending lawsuits that have been filed by childcare providers.
Finally, have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday!
State Representative, District 16A