The second and final session of the 90th Minnesota State Legislature is beginning. As we work through this session, two big items will be front and center.
As a result of the recent passage of the federal tax reform bill, state tax policy will have to be thoroughly updated. Even-numbered years also are capital investment years, commonly referred to as bonding sessions. But, first, let’s discuss current and future state tax policy.
Much was accomplished on state taxes in 2017. This year for the first time, when Minnesota seniors file their state income tax returns they will be able to reduce and in many cases eliminate all of their social security retirement benefits from being subject to the Minnesota state income tax.
Also, when Minnesota businesses receive their property tax statements next month, most will see a significant decrease on the state general business tax line. We reduced that tax and eliminated the automatic inflator that has relentlessly driven that tax up.
This year Minnesota families were also provided significant state level tax relief for child care expenses, as well as college students gained a new tax credit that applies to college loan payments.
At the local level, last year we authorized a local use sales tax within the Garrison, Kathio West Mille Lacs Lake Sanitary District. That local 1-percent sales tax goes to the sanitary district to help pay down the sanitary district debt, pay for system maintenance and ultimately hold down increases in residents’ monthly sanitary district bills.
Looking forward, because state and federal tax policy are so closely related, the recent sweeping changes to federal tax policy will require adjustments to state tax policy. We must decide what elements of state tax policy should mirror the new federal policy and where Minnesota must do something different.
The House Capital Investment Committee, on which I serve, also will be very busy. The $3 billion-plus in requests filed for bonding projects is well over triple the amount we normally authorize for bonding. We have some tough decisions ahead.
Of particular interest in our area is a bonding proposal I have submitted to add a 58-mile Mille? Lacs-Malmo East ATV Trail Loop to the Northwoods Regional ATV Trail system on the east side of Mille Lacs Lake. We need this project to aid in diversifying the recreational opportunities around the lake as we continue to work through the current walleye fishery issues.
As we get going in session down here in St. Paul your continued input is critical. Please let me know what’s on your mind. The quickest way to communicate with me during the session is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, tune in to KKIN/FM 94.3 radio 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. Friday mornings when I will be on the air with the latest updates from St. Paul.