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Legislative Update - January 31, 2013
On January 22, Governor Dayton released his budget proposal for the 2014-2015 Biennium. The Governor's budget recommendations serve a starting point for our work this session to resolve our $1.1 billion deficit and balance our state budget with a focus on a stronger economic future. I wanted to provide you with some of the proposals in the Governor's budget along with some context.
First of all, I'm pleased that Governor Dayton has put forward an honest budget that balances without the use of gimmicks or shifts. For too long, we've delayed making the tough decisions and the important investments that will lead to a stronger economy and stronger middle class. We must invest in education, from early education through higher education. Ensuring that every Minnesota child can receive a high-quality education will lead to innovation and economic prosperity.
Governor Dayton's budget includes $118 million in new K-12 funding, including $52 in new money for every student, $92 million in early learning, $40 million for optional all-day Kindergarten, and $240 million in new higher education funding.
Skyrocketing property taxes have hurt our seniors, businesses, and families over the last several years. The Governor's budget includes $1.4 billion in direct property tax relief through a $500 property tax rebate, and increases aid to local governments and counties by $120 million. Governor Dayton's budget would also provide $120 million in business property tax relief by freezing the state businesses property tax levy.
In addition to property tax relief for families and businesses, I will also be working to protect and potentially expand the Renter's Credit which goes to many people in our area, including seniors on fixed incomes.
The Governor's budget includes some additional reforms aimed at helping businesses. His budget proposes a new E-Fairness initiative, which would help level the playing field for local, Main Street businesses competing with online retailers like Amazon. It would also reduce the corporate income tax rate from 9.8 percent to 8.4 percent — the largest corporate tax cut in 26 years — while closing unfair loopholes that only benefit a few large corporations – such as the loophole that allows corporations to shelter profits overseas.
Finally, the Governor's budget provides an upfront sales tax exemption for businesses purchasing new capital equipment. Right now, when businesses invest in new equipment, they pay sales tax and get reimbursed later. This change would simplify the process for our businesses.
The Governor's proposal is essentially the first step in the budget process. The next important step is the February Forecast. Over the next several weeks, we'll dive into the details of the Governor's proposal, listen to constituents, find areas of agreement, and work together to find common-ground on disagreements.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions, comments, or concerns on any legislative issue. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-3533 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Minnesota House of Representatives.