Sen. Frentz Statement:
“I have several concerns with this bill. One of my biggest concerns is that the bill includes a provision to send public taxpayer dollars to private schools. This ‘neovoucher’ system has no place in our budget, and I could not support a bill that gives $35 million to private schools without fully funding our constitutionally-mandated public schools.
Missing from the bill is the Working Family Credit increase and adequate LGA funding – which I will continue to fight for. Yesterday, I supported an amendment that would have returned LGA funding to 2002 levels – which is the high-water mark for LGA funding. Also missing from this bill was direct property tax relief for homeowners/renters and buffer aid to farmers or counties. The bill contains about an 18 percent property tax reduction for business properties, but only a 0.4 percent reduction for residential homeowners. That just doesn’t seem fair.
In addition, the bill includes $1.1 billion in ongoing costs, which grows even larger by 2022-2023. The provision to freeze the statewide business property tax rate will cost the state $1.2 billion over the next 10 years, and nearly 50 percent of that relief goes to out-of-state building owners, not Minnesota businesses. These spending levels are not sustainable and could drive the state back into budget deficits.”
Local Items in this Bill:
A provision was included to allow Mankato and North Mankato to extend its sales tax for different projects as approved by the voters at the November 2016 general election. “I was pleased to carry this funding for our community and to make sure it was included in the final tax bill,” Sen. Frentz said. “I also want to thank constituents in the district for voting for this important funding provision last fall to help pay for improvements to benefit our community.”
· The funds could be used for: construction and improvements to regional recreational facilities including indoor athletic facilities; improvements to the flood control and levee systems; water quality improvement projects in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties; expansion of a transit building and related transit improvements; and matching funds for regional facilities such as a historic museum, supportive housing, and a senior center.
North Mankato food and beverage local sales taxes: Also included is a provision to allow the city of North Mankato to raise a half-percent sales tax on food and beverages to help fund Caswell Park’s operating costs. Currently, the city has contributed an average of $62,500 annually to make up deficits at Caswell Park. This half-cent sales tax is expected to raise about $50,000 a year.