The 2016 legislative session came to a close Sunday night with both the House and Senate passing a handful of bills in the final days that will bring substantial tax relief to Minnesotans across the state.
Our tax bill includes $801 million in tax relief over the next three years with more than $500 million in ongoing permanent tax relief. Some of the highlights from the bill include:
$90.6 million in tax relief for Minnesota farmers
$110 million in tax relief for college graduates paying off student loans
$49 million in tax relief for families who contribute to 529 plans to save for their children’s college costs
$150 million in relief for working families by expanding the working family tax credit
In addition to the tax bill, both legislative bodies passed a supplemental budget bill that includes even more tax relief for Minnesotans including the exemption of military veteran pensions from state income tax for 18,000 Minnesota veterans, an additional Angel Investor Tax Credit to encourage investments in Minnesota businesses and a tax credit for parents of still-born children.
It is because of the hardworking taxpayers of Minnesota that the state has a $900 million budget surplus, so it is only right that they receive substantial tax relief. The bill now awaits Governor Dayton’s signature.
Also included in the supplemental budget bill was increased funding to expand broadband access in rural Minnesota. When combined with federal funding, Minnesota will see more than $120 million for broadband expansion next year alone.
While tax relief and other important things were accomplished this year, I am saddened to report that a transportation and bonding bill were stalled due to a last-minute political stunt by the Senate. When I say “last-minute” I literally mean in the closing moments of the legislative session.
Throughout the weekend the House and Senate were negotiating on the specifics of a bonding bill. Eventually, a deal was reached on legislation that included $696.5 million in road and bridge funding as well as funds for a number of critically important water treatment facility repairs and other infrastructure projects around the state. The bill passed the House with broad bipartisan support on a 91 to 39 vote.
Unfortunately, the Senate added a controversial amendment to expand light rail transit onto the bill in the final minutes of session, thus breaking the agreement between both legislative bodies. Their actions alone prevented this bill from passing.
There has been some discussion of a possible special session to complete the transportation bonding bill, and I will keep you updated if that moves forward.
As always, even though session is over, I encourage you to contact me to share your thoughts and concerns on any legislative or state related issue. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at email@example.com.