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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Daniels (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Brian Daniels

Friday, April 27, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

This week, House Republicans released details of our tax conformity plan. As I’ve detailed in previous updates, tax conformity is the single-biggest issue facing the Legislature this year. If we do nothing and don’t conform to changes made in the federal tax code due to last year’s federal tax bill, filing taxes in Minnesota will be nearly impossible.

If we conform and make no policy changes to our own state tax code, thousands of Minnesotans will see a tax increase in excess of nearly $500 million next year.

Luckily, the proposal we put forth this week addresses these challenges while also simplifying our tax code and reducing taxes for more than 2.1 million filers.

The centerpiece of our proposal is an income tax rate reduction for the second-tier of Minnesota income earners. The majority of middle-class Minnesotans fall into this tax bracket and this reduction is the first of its kind in nearly 20 years.

Other highlights from our plan include:

  • Lowering taxes for people at all income levels by increasing the standard deduction from $13,000 to $14,000.
  • Protecting families by preserving a state personal and dependent exemption of $4,150.
  • Encouraging affordable homeownership by allowing a state-itemized deduction of up to $30,000 in property taxes.
  • Supporting hometown businesses and farmers by reinvesting extra revenue from corporate tax changes into Section 179 conformity and overall rate reductions.

Our plan stands in stark contrast to Governor Dayton’s plan which actually raises taxes on Minnesotans of all income levels. In fact, analysis by his own Department of Revenue found that that households making less than $32,000 would be hit hardest by his proposal.

Stay tuned on this important issue in the coming weeks as it is sure to be a lynchpin in final negotiations.

Education Bill Approved by House

Omnibus supplemental budget bills have started coming to the House floor for votes as we are officially entering the final stages of this year’s legislative session.

On Thursday, the House approved the omnibus education finance bill. This year’s bill provides supplemental funding to school districts to improve safety at their schools and works to improve transparency to ensure that education funding is producing positive academic outcomes.

Highlights from the bill include:

  • Prioritizing school safety by providing local communities the resources and flexibility they need to meet their unique safety needs.
  • Addressing teacher and school employee misconduct through more strict licensing, background checks and mandatory reporting laws.
  • Creating a special education working group to study the rapid increase of special education costs and spending.
  • Increasing school funding transparency in order to ensure funding aimed at lessening the achievement gap is being used for its intended purpose.
  • Requiring the Department of Education to create a school report card on their website in order to provide a single place for parents to compare student achievement and academic growth by school site and district.
  • Addressing a dire workforce shortage in skilled trades and manufacturing by starting pilot programs and encouraging school counselors to give skilled trades, manufacturing and military careers the same credence and other careers.

I am proud to have authored two provisions that were included in the omnibus bill. The first is a bill that requires the Nerstrand charter school to give enrollment preference to students residing within a five-mile radius of the school and to the siblings of enrolled children. This is about making sure that Nerstrand residents are able to utilize this outstanding school.

Second, I have a provision in the Higher Education portion of the bill that seeks to lower the costs of textbooks for college students.

The 15th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is taking place this Saturday, April 28. Learn more and locate a collection site near you on the Minnesota’s Hospitals: Strengthening Healthy Communities website and on the DEA website.

That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts or concerns you may have about state government or the job I'm doing as your representative. It would be great to talk with you. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at rep.brian.daniels@house.mn.

Thanks and have a great weekend,

Brian

 

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