Put it Right Back Where it Belongs!
Given the state’s massive budget surplus we have an excellent opportunity to provide relief to hard-working Minnesota families who are still feeling squeezed by high inflation. The number one thing I hear around the district: people want us to give the surplus back. I agree!
The package includes changes for immediate tax relief today with one-time rebate checks using $5 billion of the state’s surplus funds and $3.5 billion for a one-time child tax credit available for two years. The checks are estimated to be $1250 for single filers, and $2500 for joint filers. The $1800 tax credit per child under the age of 18 comes without strings attached to its purpose or use.
Permanent relief comes in the form of the elimination of the tax on Social Security for a cost of $1.26 billion to provide 472,902 Minnesotans with an average tax reduction of $1,277 dollars. The list of states that tax Social Security income shrank to just 11 in 2023. The Social Security tax impacts those with just $25,000 in federal income—a far reach from the claim full elimination would only help the wealthy.
An additional $3 billion in permanent tax relief comes in reducing both the first and second tier tax rates by 1% each to 4.35% and 5.8% respectively. Minnesota’s lowest tax rate is higher than the highest tax bracket in 24 states and is consistently ranked one of the highest-taxed states in the country. Anyone who pays income taxes would see a reduction in their taxes under this plan.
Finally, an adjustment of the homestead market value exclusion would give $35 million a year in relief. Rising property evaluations and a tight housing market mean people need relief wherever they can get it. For many, their home is their single largest asset, and this change will allow them to keep more of their home’s value in their bank account each year.
Braham Water Bill Makes Progress in Committee
The Mayor of Braham, Nate George, joined me in presenting my bill to the Capital Investment Committee for critical funding to improve the city’s water infrastructure needs. An estimated 85% of the wastewater collection system is 60+ years old. It has crumbling clay tiling far exceeding its expected service life, and numerous water mains have lead service fittings.
Check Out the Presentation Here!
Ranked Choice Voting – Don’t Believe the Hype
The Elections Committee heard a bill that would overhaul how we vote. The legislation would remove the current Winner Takes All and replace it with Rank Choice Voting (RCV), where voters rank candidates in order of preference. Suppose no candidate receives a majority of first-place votes. In that case, the candidate with the least number of first-place votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the remaining candidates based on the second-place choices of those voters. This process continues until a candidate receives a majority of votes.
Complexity: Confused by the description of RCV? Imagine going into your polling location and ranking your vote without making a mistake, causing your ballot to be spoiled and not counted.
Cost: Implementation of RCV would directly fall on our counties and local municipalities, as it requires new voting machines and software.
Delay in Results: It takes longer to count and report the ballot results, leading to delays in uncertainties.
Voter Suppression: In combination with more complexities, it discourages folks from going to vote, particularly among lower-income and minority groups who may have less familiarity with the system.
Equalizing Education: Let’s Fund Charter Schools!
This session, Democrats are proposing legislation to increase school safety aid. Unfortunately, this taxpayer fund leaves out charter schools. More than 67,000 students attend charter schools in Minnesota.
Currently, Safe Schools funding is raised through a local levy. However, charter schools do not have levy authority. In the past, my colleagues and I passed legislation to make Safe Schools a levy AND state aid program to include charter schools. I will continue to work across the aisle to ensure Democrats hear our concerns that every student deserves the same amount of funding for a safe school environment, no matter where they go to school.
It was great to connect with folks last Friday at Coffee with Koran! Thank you to everyone for taking the time to meet with me. If you missed the event but still want to connect, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 651-296-5419. I’m the most effective legislator when I hear directly from you!