By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 3/31/2017
Hello from St. Paul,
The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved legislation that would provide $1.35 billion in meaningful tax relief. The majority of the proposal is targeted towards middle-class Minnesotans.
There are a number of very worthwhile provisions in this bill, but the one I’m most pleased about is the language that would assist our senior citizens. Reducing the taxes on Social Security is something I heard when I was on the campaign trail from a lot of people, so I’m glad that provision is in here. We wish we could go further with it, and hopefully we can do more in the future, but I think this is a nice first step to work towards eliminating the taxes on Social Security benefits in Minnesota.
Specifically, $269 million in relief is provided for Minnesota’s senior citizens by increasing the income limit thresholds for the taxation of Social Security income. Currently, for married couples, income less than $32,000 is exempt and for single filers that amount is the first $25,000. Under this bill, for tax years 2017 and 2018 married couples will see the first $61,000 exempt from income taxes. For single filers, it would amount to the first $46,500. Beginning in 2019 and continuing, the amounts increase further to $72,000 for married filers and $56,000 for single filers.
There’s also $125 million to address college affordability through a first-in-the-nation tax credit for student loan payments; $35 million for families with young children by modifying the child and dependent care credit; $42 million in relief for farmers by reducing the burden farmers and agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums; and $203 million to eliminate an extra property tax on small businesses up to their first $200,000 of commercial/industrial property.
With a $1.6 billion surplus, it’s clear we need to allow Minnesotans to keep more of what they earn, and this bill does that.
In other news, I continue to work with MnDOT on the Hastings Highway 316 issue. You’ll recall that after hearing from numerous area residents about raising the speed limit, I offered legislation that would require MnDOT to maintain a 35 mile per hour speed limit on Highway 316 from Highway 61 to just north of Tuttle Drive.
I continue to have faith that we will be able to work out a compromise that will make both the neighborhood and MnDOT happy, and continue my efforts to make this happen. To me, this is and always has been an issue about safety, which was my reason for bringing the bill forward in the first place. Hopefully, there’ll be updated news on this topic very soon.
This week, Pastor Randy Berg from Calvary Christian Church in Hastings served as Chaplain of the Day in the Minnesota House.
Constituent Mary Nehring also visited to advocate on behalf of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Minnesota.
AFSCME members from Hastings and Cottage Grove also stopped by during their “Day on the Hill.”
A number of area nurses also visited about staffing levels and safety issues.
Nanette and Kay from senior care centers in Hastings also visited the Capitol to advocate for Face Aging Minnesota.
Have a good weekend,
Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155