The 2017 Legislative Session officially came to a close this past Tuesday evening after the Governor signed the proposed budget into law.
Below are the highlights of what was accomplished: lowering our taxes, repairing/replacing roads and bridges, funding our schools, helping veterans, and reforming the buffer law.
Taxes: The tax bill provides $650 million in tax relief over the next two years (2018-2019) and $790 million in 2020-2021; the largest tax relief package in almost 20 years!
The tax bill also provides a $15 million statewide increase for Local Government Aid and a $25.5 million statewide increase for County Program Aid to help local governments pay for essential services.
There was also an additional $1.2 million funded directly to Wadena County for 2018 and 2019 to help stabilize the exploding costs of health and human services within the County. I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Commissioner Sheldon Monson, and Commissioner Bill Stearns for their tireless work on this issue the past 3 years!
Transportation: The transportation budget prioritizes Greater Minnesota’s need of road and bridge repair and improvement responsibly by using existing revenue sources. In the next two years alone, an additional $300 million will be invested in the state’s transportation infrastructure with an additional $16 million for small cities’ road projects. Also, through the creation of a new local bridge account, 97 bridges will either be repaired or replaced statewide. Altogether, this is the largest investment in our roads and bridges in state history without raising taxes.
Education: The K12 education budget invests an additional $1.3 billion in our students, as well as make some significant reforms:
Veterans: Between the jobs & energy and the state government finance budget, as well as through the bonding bill, there are some new and expanded programs to help our veterans more easily assimilate back to civilian life:
The following changes were made to the buffer law in order to make it more workable for farmers and landowners:
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