Rep Denny McNamara Capitol Update: This is truly a historic tax relief proposal

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 05/26/2016

Hello from the State Capitol,

Coming into the 2016 legislative session, the legislature knew it would have to address many important issues – one being a $900 million budget surplus. At the conclusion of the session the House and Senate, with strong bipartisan support, voted to send a good portion of that money back to those who created the surplus in the first place.

The bill, approved by a 123-10 vote in the House, will provide more than $800 million in tax relief over the next three years. Highlights include:

$150 million in tax relief for families by expanding the working family tax credit;

$32 million to reduce the cost of childcare;

$90.6 million in agriculture property tax relief for Minnesota farmers;

$49 million in tax relief for families who contribute to 529 Plans to save for their children’s college costs;

$146 million in property tax relief for every small business in the state by exempting the first $100,000 of commercial-industrial property;

$13 million in tax relief for veterans; and

$110 million in tax relief for college graduates paying off student loans through a refundable tax credit up to $1,000 – the first of its kind in the country.

This is truly a historic tax relief proposal that’s going to allow hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to keep more of what they earn. Due to its overwhelming bipartisan support, I’m hopeful Governor Dayton will sign it into law.

Transportation and bonding needs were also addressed on the final night of session, but they were unfortunately lost thanks to the actions of Senate Democrats.

Earlier in the day, the Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader had agreed on a joint bonding/transportation bill that used $300 million from the budget surplus, and another $300 million in bonding, to provide a significant funding infusion for roads and bridges. The bill also included funding for other important projects, such as construction projects at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, flood hazard mitigation, upgrades to the Minnesota Security Hospital, and railroad crossing safety improvements.

The House approved the bill, sent it to the Senate and adjourned for the year as its work was done. Senate Democrats went back on the agreement and amended the bill to include funding for the controversial Southwest Corridor light rail project. But when they heard the House had adjourned and could no longer could bomb the amended bill back over to the House, their only option was to reconsider the bill, remove the light rail provision and send the bill on its way to the Governor. However, they ran out of time as the constitutional deadline for action on bills had passed so the bill died on the Senate floor.

Due to the foolish actions of the Senate, Minnesotans lost hundreds of millions of dollars for all those important projects mentioned above.

Governor Dayton stated that he liked most of the bonding bill, and the overwhelming bipartisan support it had in the House should be proof that it’s good legislation.

I’m hopeful the governor quickly calls us back into a one-day special session to do what’s right for Minnesotans and pass this needed road, bridge, and capital investment legislation.

Not long ago, my brother Kevin, who is pastor at King’s Chapel in Lanai, Hawaii, served as the House Chaplain for the day and gave the opening prayer before our floor session began. To watch Kevin’s prayer, please click here.

Keep in touch,

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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