The table was set for a bitter end of session resolution.
You had the House Republicans, with a 77-strong majority hoping to get some wins for their base in the form of
- Tax cuts and Tax Reform. Especially property cuts taxes for farmers and the phase-out of taxes on social security taxes on Seniors.
- Education reform, including an end to seniority as the critical factor in teacher retention (LIFO) and school choice in the form of tax credits for private school tuition.
- A bill on Female Genital Mutilation,
- A stand your ground bill for the gun activists.
- Some state downsizing and budget cutting.
- Pumped up transportation spending. The trick here was to do it without raising the gas tax, or any other vehicle-related tax or fee like license tab fees which both of which Dayton had wanted.
- Preemption. Business was very keen on a law preventing cities from creating their own minimum wage and labor laws.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota House tax committee heard two bills which tackled the issue many of us have been following for some time, the tax on social security benefits in Minnesota.
HF 9 authored by Rep. Dale Lueck proposes to phase out the tax on Social Security in 5 years, (with a reduction of 20% a year until fully phased out). Rep. Kathy Lohmer’s bill HF 213 does the same thing, less speedily, over 10 years.
The Committee heard testimony from one member of the public and a few people representing groups. Here are some highlights.
We've dropped a notch on the Kiplinger Magazineworst places to retire due to our high taxes.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a Met Council "Reform" Which created staggered terms for the council members. On Wednesday, the House brought an offer to the Transportation Omnibus Bill Conference Committee, which included "Met Council Reform" as part of a compromise. This version of reform included the staggered terms as well as having members be elected local government officials. We are the record for not being fans of this proposal. Here's why.Read more
The "Claims Bill" is up on the House Floor today.
It is the product of the Joint House/Senate Subcommittee on Claims. In theory, this Subcommittee hears and recommends to the legislature whether or not to pay claims that have been brought against the state. In reality, they meet a few times to largely rubber stamp decisions that have already been made by the Attorney General's office, the State Supreme Court, and other parties.Read more
In many towns and cities across Minnesota, there are school board elections and local ballot questions with levy referendums and levy renewals. A levy is a special tax that property owners will pay for a specified number of years. The ballot initiative specifies what the levy is for right on the ballot. Some examples of ballot initiatives:
- An operating levy is to pay regular budget expenses for the school district
- A levy to pay back (with interest) a bond, usually for construction, remodeling or equipment for the school district.
It’s difficult to give a blanket analysis that covers all referendum situations across the state, but there are a few things you should consider when thinking about whether to vote yes or no on your school district’s local levy.Read more
In September, parents send their young adults to college and worry about the ever-escalating cost. One does wonder how an education got to be so expensive.
What is remarkable is the silence from the people of the left side of the political spectrum. We all remember when gasoline prices first hit $1.80 a gallon and the left, along with the media, were outraged at President George Bush and his oil buddies. There were even news reports from gas stations asking people how the high gas price would impact their finances. By the way, did we see similar stories when, during Obama’s administration, gasoline rose to $3.59 a gallon?