Rep Keith Franke Capitol Update: Session Wrap (7/23/2017)

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PDF file: KF_SW_2017b-1.pdf

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Dear Neighbors,

At the end of May, we closed out the legislative session, and Governor Dayton signed all of our budget bills into law. It’s great to see Minnesotans receive $650 million in tax relief, billions in road and bridge investments, and increased funding for our schools. Our bipartisan work to complete a responsible, balanced budget will help our residents throughout the state.

This year, I was fortunate to have three big provisions signed into law. These include the expansion of the Minnesota GI Bill program to provide for apprenticeships and on-the-job training benefits, a strategic plan to eliminate HIV/AIDS in our state, and a proposal to ensure a greater level of care for our elderly and vulnerable adults. I also co-authored a bill that became law to provide increased funding for police training.

In all, I’m extremely proud of our budget bills as a whole, and to effectively pass my legislation into law. Our productive session saw compromises from both sides. My view of good compromise is when nobody leaves the table happy. All sides had to give on some of their priorities, but that’s what it takes to get the job done for Minnesotans.

HEALTH CARE

Emergency Premium Aid & Access: House Republicans acted quickly to provide a 25 percent health insurance premium rebate and ensure continued access to doctors for patients receiving life-saving treatment.

Lowering Costs, Increasing Choices: A suite of reforms passed by House Republicans provides more affordable options for small businesses and their employees, protects consumers from unfair billing practices, and allows organizations with member owners — such as farm cooperatives — to provide health insurance to their members. Furthermore, a new reinsurance law brings Minnesota closer to its pre-Obamacare system, where the relatively small pool of individuals and families who buy insurance on their own are not left to bear the cost of high risk individuals.

TAX RELIEF

It’s been nearly two decades since Minnesotans have received meaningful tax relief. The 2017 Tax Relief bill, championed by House Republicans, delivers $650 million in tax relief to Minnesota families over the next two years, and $790 million in 2020-2021.

Nearly 284,000 senior citizen tax returns (single and married filing jointly) will receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those will no longer pay state income tax on their social security benefits.

A family of four making $50,000 a year will receive an additional $1,200 toward their child care expenses.

65,000 students will receive an average of a $414 reduction in their taxes through a new tax credit for student loan payments.

TRANSPORTATION

To increase safety and reduce traffic congestion, House Republicans prioritized fixing roads and bridges Minnesotans use every day. This session, lawmakers successfully defeated the governor’s gas tax hike, and instead invested a historic level of existing funds into our transportation infrastructure statewide.

Local Aid to Fix Roads: Our multi-billion dollar transportation plan invests real money for local roads. Washington County will receive $3.2 million in increased funding over the next four years. Likewise, the trio of Cottage Grove, South St. Paul, and St. Paul Park will receive nearly $750,000 of increased investment in 2018-2021.

Rail Safety: I supported a number of provisions to make railroads safer in our area and throughout the state.

Bridges: 97 bridges will be repaired or replaced statewide as a result of $25 million in funds for a new local bridge account.

Light Rail: Republicans stopped state dollars from funding ongoing operating costs for Southwest Light Rail.

EDUCATION

The K-12 Education Budget partners more than $1.3 billion of increased funding, including a provision I co-authored to include a 2% yearly increase to the per-pupil formula that was requested by our school districts, with proven reforms including:

* Investing in proven early education programming like pre-K scholarships and school readiness.
* Funding for low-income students to take the SAT or ACT tests.
* More dollars for Minnesota Reading Corps.
* Creating a pilot project to research and implement innovative education programs.
* New testing requirements will help keep our kids safe by ensuring school water is free of lead.

Funding Our Local Schools: Every school district in the state will see significant new dollars to help our students. For example, South St. Paul and South Washington County schools will receive a combined $9.3 million of additional, new investment over the next two years.

NEW LAWS WITH AN EVERYDAY IMPACT

Real ID: A Real ID-compliance law enables Minnesotans to use a state-issued ID to board an airplane or enter a federal facility.

Wifi Speeds: A new small cell technology initiative will bring 5G wireless internet to Minnesota—100x faster than the current 4G service.

Sunday Sales: The repeal of an outdated law allows Minnesotans to purchase beer, wine and spirits on Sunday effective July 1st.

As always, please feel free to contact my office if you need anything; I’m here to help.

Regards,

Keith

State Representative Keith Franke
567 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-4342
rep.keith.franke@house.mn

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