Governor Dayton has signed the budget into law, officially closing out the 2017 Legislative Session.
Read below to learn more about what was accomplished in passing the state’s budget for the next two years:
Breakdown of the Budget:
Taxes: The tax bill provides $650 million in tax relief over the next two years (2018-2019) and $790 million in 2020-2021; the largest tax relief package in almost 20 years!
- Nearly 284,000 senior citizens will receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those will no longer pay any state income tax on their social security benefits.
- A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 toward their child care expenses.
- 65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a new tax credit for student loan payments.
- Every Minnesota business owner will be able to deduct the first $100,000 of property value from their property taxes in order to reduce their tax burden.
- 240,000 farmers will receive property tax relief to reduce their disproportionate share of school district levy costs.
The tax bill also provides a $15 million statewide increase for Local Government Aid and a $25.5 million statewide increase for County Program Aid to help local governments pay for essential services.
- Dodge County: 12% increase
- Rice County: 7% increase
- Steele County: 8% increase
Transportation: The transportation budget responsibly prioritizes Minnesota’s need of road and bridge repairs and improvements by using existing auto-related revenue sources. In the next two years alone, an additional $300 million will be invested in the state’s transportation infrastructure with an additional $16 million for small cities’ road projects. Also, through the creation of a new local bridge account, 97 bridges will either be repaired or replaced statewide. Altogether, this is the largest investment in state history in our roads and bridges without raising taxes.
Education: The K12 education budget invests an additional $1.3 billion in our students, as well as make some significant reforms:
- Ending the default "Last In, First Out" layoff policy to ensure schools can keep the best teachers in the classroom.
- Expanding pre-K scholarships.
- Overhauling the broken teacher licensure system in order to help schools address teacher shortages.
Rice County Veterans Memorial: The funding needed to complete the Rice County Veterans Memorial was included in the final budget. I want to thank those who have worked tirelessly to ensure this project was funded, built, and ultimately, finished; I look forward to its completion!
The following changes were made to the buffer law in order to make it more workable for farmers and landowners:
- Deadline Waiver: A temporary waiver for up to 8 months, available through local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) will be available for those not able to comply with the November 1, 2017 deadline for buffer installation on public waters.
- Alternative Practices: SWCDs will now be able to approve alternative practices based on local conditions.
- Cost Share: $5 million from the Clean Water Fund will be available through SWCDs for landowners interested in technical or financial assistance to establish buffers or alternative practices.
- Seed Mixes: To prevent the spread of palmer amaranth or other noxious weeds, seed mixes must follow Minnesota's current seed verification process.
- Definition of Public Waters: The definition of "public waters" was narrowed for purposes of the buffer law to be ONLY waters designated in the last Public Waters Inventory (PWI) update. Existing law pointed to a much broader definition of “public waters” and this change clarifies the intent of the 2015 agreement.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-8237, or email@example.com.