The federal tax conformity bill the House passed last week received approval from the governor earlier today, saving Minnesota taxpayers about $21.7 million that they would have otherwise paid in Minnesota taxes for tax year 2016.
The House also made progress on two other major issues this week, health insurance premium relief and Real ID legislation.
The Real ID bill will bring Minnesota into compliance with the federal standards on IDs required for boarding domestic flights. We have approximately one year to gain federal compliance, otherwise only Minnesota’s enhanced driver’s license or a current passport will be acceptable for boarding domestic flights.
On health insurance premium relief, the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill is advancing through the committee process after House Democrats blocked it from moving forward in a more expedited manner last week. Our goal is to move that bill to the governor’s desk within the next couple of weeks. That is moving as fast as possible under the circumstances that resulted from last week’s refusal by some to acknowledge that this is an urgent matter dictating immediate action.
In other news Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative will receive a $1.8 million grant to help expand our area broadband coverage.
According to a press release from DEED, the proposed $3.5 million project will serve 763 unserved households, two unserved businesses, two unserved community anchor institutions, 31 underserved households, and two underserved businesses in Aitkin County.
The Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative and Consolidated Telecommunications Co. will partner to provide service levels that will enhance businesses, employment, health care and educational experiences in the region. The total eligible project cost is $3.5 million, with a $1.76 million local match.
It’s no secret parts of our district have little or no high-speed Internet service. I am exceptionally pleased to see that some of the state broadband funds we rural legislators on both sides of the aisle have fought for are coming directly to our area to help get our homes and businesses up to the broadband coverage level that most folks take for granted.
We made progress this week, with much more to do. Please be safe and enjoy the weekend.