(ST. PAUL, MN) – On Thurs., Oct. 15-Senate Republicans passed a government financing bill that included bonding, tax, and budget provisions for the entire state. The bill provided $200 million in tax relief for small businesses and farmers through Section 179 tax conformity. The bill is targeted largely towards projects regarding transportation, wastewater, and infrastructure for rural communities.
Senator Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake), Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Housing, and Rural Development Finance Committee, expressed hearty approval of certain elements of the bill, saying, “I’m ecstatic that cities in my district can look forward to furthering their important infrastructure and community projects with the bonding dollars in this bill. It will result in significant jobs and economic benefit from the provisions included in this bill.”
Contained in the bill are some major projects for Senate District 12, which Sen. Westrom represents. The City of Melrose will receive $3.5 million towards their $11 million wastewater infrastructure project and $2 million has been reserved to help complete the flood mitigation in Browns Valley.
There are two projects overlapping Sen. Westrom’s and Sen. Ingebrigtsen’s districts. The City of Alexandria will receive $5.6 million towards the Runestone Community Center expansion, which will have a new, third sheet of ice for youth hockey. There will also be major improvements at the Pope-Douglas Solid Waste facility, which handles the waste stream for several of the counties in both senator’s districts. All of the projects are expected to generate construction job increases in the area.
Another top priority of Senate Republicans was passing Chapter 179 federal tax conformity for main street businesses and farmers. This change allows farmers and other small business owners to have similar deductions as federal tax policy for equipment purchases on their taxes, which will also stimulate the economy with investments in their operations. Those who benefit from Chapter 179 are the backbone of rural Minnesota job creators and this tax relief will aid the state for years to come.
In reference to Section 179, Sen. Westrom noted, “I’ve been pushing for these tax relief measures for years, and it’s great to see it finally come to fruition in what has been a tough year for farmers and small businesses.”
In the supplemental budget portion of the budget, public safety is prioritized. This week, Senate Republicans released a report highlighting the inaction from Gov. Walz resulted in an increase in destruction and violence during the riots. The bill does not provide any funds to rebuild businesses that were damaged, but it reimburses law enforcement agencies for their work quelling the riots last summer.
The bill invests $1.87 billion in projects across the state, with over half of it going towards safe roads, bridges and rural city wastewater projects. Rural projects were a priority that Senate Republicans demanded in negotiations. The bill was passed with bipartisan agreement and is headed to the Governor’s desk.