Hello from St. Paul,
With the announcement of Minnesota’s economic forecast and an expanding budget surplus, the crafting of the state budget for the next two years has now officially begun.
The Office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the February economic forecast this Tuesday, revealing a larger budget surplus than forecasted last fall. For the 2018-2019 budget years, Minnesota is projected to have a $1.65 billion surplus, an increase of about $250 million. Additionally, a $2.124 billion surplus has been projected for the 2020-2021 biennium.
The increase in the surplus mostly comes from greater-than-expected revenue from individual income taxes, the general sales tax, and the corporate franchise tax. MMB budget documents state that an improved U.S. economic outlook and positive numbers for key economic data points such as personal income growth, employment, and consumer spending have contributed to the additional surplus revenue.
I think this shows us that Minnesota taxpayers have been overtaxed. In addition to funding important things like education and infrastructure - particularly roads & bridges, I agree that our residents deserve some tax relief in this budget. Stay-tuned for proposals!
Post-Secondary Education Savings Plan Tax Deduction/Credits:
On Wednesday, a bill I co-authored (House File 1869) that establishes income tax subtraction and credits for contributions to Minnesota College Savings Plan (529 Plans) was introduced. A 529 plan is a tax-free savings plan designed to encourage savings for future college costs authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
This bill allows for parents to invest in a 529 plan (Minnesota College Savings Plan) while benefiting from one of two tax incentives: either an income deduction (up to $1,500 for individual filers and $3,000 for joint filers) when calculating a filer’s taxes, or a tax credit (up to $500), reducing a filer’s tax obligation.
The high cost of college was a frequent concern I heard from constituents last fall and I am pleased to co-author an effort like this to support parents and students who are saving for college.
Click here for the press release on the bill.
Uniform Labor Standards:
On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill, on a bipartisan vote of 76-53, that makes private employment regulations uniform across the state of Minnesota. Over the past couple years, a few cities (specifically Minneapolis and St. Paul) proposed establishing their own labor standards. This practice of patchwork city ordinances would damper job growth, create complicated and costly administrative burdens, discourage businesses contemplating expanding into Minnesota, and possibly even drive businesses out of Minnesota. In addition, a higher minimum wage standard could force small businesses and nonprofit organizations in our communities to lay-off workers or reduce hiring new employees. In order to protect jobs and promote an environment of growth in our region, I voted in favor of the Uniform Labor Standards Act.
Congratulations to Cannon Falls Superintendent Beth Geise who was named 2017 Administrator of the Year by the MASA, Minnesota Association of School Administrators.
Click here for story.
Congratulations to Sgt. Rick Schueler of Alexandra for being named the State Patrol’s Trooper of the Year; thank you for your service to our state! Along with my colleagues, I had the privilege of recognizing Sgt. Schueler on the floor of the House!
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.
I appreciate your comments and concerns as it helps me be a better representative.