Prior to heading into Easter/Passover break, the Senate passed its second tax bill which focused on targeted tax relief, along with statewide and local economic development projects. The bill received large bi-partisan support and is headed to conference committee to be negotiated with the House’s version.
Provisions included in the Senate tax bill directly affect veterans, volunteer emergency responders, parents who pay for additional tutoring and reading assistance and Greater Minnesota businesses who hire interns. Veterans would see the tax credit for past military service doubled from $750 to $1,500. Current military members would see the credit for current service increased from $120 to $200 per month. The 19,000 volunteer emergency responders across the state who have served for at least one year would be eligible for a new, $450 tax credit, aimed at helping with recruitment and retention of these important roles.
Minnesota is known for our beautiful waters, which lately have become increasingly threatened due to aquatic invasive species. The DNR has been working with volunteers across the state to prevent the spread, but have exhausted their resources. The Senate took this concern under consideration and appropriated $10 million yearly in new county program aid with the requirement that counties receiving these funds must use them for aquatic invasive species prevention and intervention activities.
The second tax bill also addressed some local government concerns relating to last year’s sales tax exemption that only included cities and counties. Joint-power authorities, including watershed districts, were not eligible to receive the sales tax exemption. Our bill addresses those concerns and broadens the definition to include most governmental entities starting January 1, 2015.
The final weeks of session will be devoted to resolving the differences between the two tax bills in conference committee so that we can send a final bill to Governor Dayton for his signature that will keep Minnesota on a prosperous path.