Making good on a commitment to begin reversing years of gridlock and pass comprehensive transportation and tax relief packages, Senate Republicans led the way in finalizing the state budget for the next two years. The budget, which amounts to $46 billion over the next two years, was the result of lengthy negotiations between the Republican legislature and Democratic governor, and was signed into law earlier this week.
“This legislative session was one of the most productive in recent memory,” said Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound). “Republicans delivered the largest tax relief package in nearly two decades, the first serious investment in roads and bridges in nearly ten years, and an education budget that puts students first. This was a true compromise and is in the best interest of the Minnesotans we serve.”
The $648 million tax relief package comes after years of increasing taxes, and includes:
- A new school building bonds agricultural credit – a 40% offset for school building levies.
- A reduction to the statewide property tax through an elimination of the inflator and an exemption up to $100,000 of C/I property value.
- A subtraction for a portion of Social Security benefits subject to state income tax.
- An increase to Minnesota’s estate tax exemption.
- A beginning farmer tax credit program, which provides additional tools to encourage and support more individuals to be successful in their early years in farming.
The transportation budget, which invests $550 million over the next two years – $300 million of which is permanent funding – does not raise the gas tax or increase license tab fees, instead relying on a dedicated revenue stream from existing taxes on auto-related sales. A key provision in the bill terminates the state’s responsibility to subsidize light rail operating costs every two years, saving taxpayers, who never utilize light rail transit, picking up the tab for the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line.
“My focus this session has been on improving and maintaining our infrastructure with innovation and practicality. Light rail has failed to produce the intended results, and I fought to restructure our transportation priorities away from more wasteful spending and toward needed upgrades to our roads and bridges,” continued Sen. Osmek. “Republicans got it done this session, offering practical solutions that reflect the priorities of Minnesotans. This session’s work will do a lot of good.”
Sen. Osmek is in his second term representing Senate District 33, which includes communities in Carver and Hennepin counties. Sen. Osmek chairs the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee.