The Legislature completed its budget work and adjourned early Friday morning. The $650 million in tax relief and significant increase in funding for roads and bridges are two of many important accomplishments of 2017.
Simply said, this is a great day for Minnesota. We moved the needle on tax reform and finally we are able to reduce the state income tax on seniors’ Social Security retirement benefits. After three years of hard work I am pleased that we will provide some long-overdue tax relief for our seniors who are living out their retirement years on fixed incomes.
We concluded a brief special session by passing the final bills that authorize the state’s 2018-19 budget. As agreed to with the governor, the Legislature passed seven bills during special session: taxes, transportation, state government, health and human services, K-12 education, capital investment and labor standards.
The Republican-led tax bill that passed with strong bipartisan support provides more than $650 million in tax relief – the largest tax cut in nearly two decades – for Minnesota families in the 2018-19 biennium and roughly $750 million in tax relief in 2020-21. In addition to relief for seniors on Social Security, the burden is lessened for college graduates with student loan debt, and property tax relief for farmers and Minnesota businesses also is provided.
In addition, Republicans championed and the Legislature approved the largest investment in road and bridge infrastructure in a state history, billions more over the next 10 years without an increase in the gas tax or license tab fees.
The $300 million in new funding we provided for our transportation infrastructure over the next two years will allow us to move forward on badly needed road repairs and upgrades. Legislation I worked on directing sales tax revenue already being collected on the purchases of auto parts toward roads and bridges was included in the transportation bill. In a time of surplus, raising taxes is not justified. We simply have to match available funds to our transportation needs.
In the past few days, the Legislature sent 10 budget bills, a $995 million bonding bill and a labor standards bill to the governor for his signature.
Look for more information on the other portions of the new state budget in upcoming emails. There are a good number of provisions to help Greater Minnesota and I will pass along more on that soon.
Lastly, please have a safe Memorial Day weekend as we honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of liberty. I will be part of the Memorial Day program at the Aitkin American Legion Post. I hope many of you will be able to join us at the Post 86 but, if not, please join a Memorial Day event near you.