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Rep. Mekeland: Time for tax relief

Monday, March 9, 2020

ST. PAUL – House Republicans held a press conference Monday calling for significant tax cuts for Minnesota families using the state’s $1.5 billion budget surplus.

Senate Republicans announced their “Get Your Billion Back” tax plan earlier this year, while the House Democrat majority and Gov. Tim Walz have remained mum on whether they will put forward a tax cut bill this session.

Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, said the time is right to provide Minnesotans with tax relief.

“I don’t know how you can look at a $1.5 billion surplus and even question whether major tax relief is in store this session, it should be a done deal,” Mekeland said. “The package we put forward gives the dollars government has over-collected back to the taxpayers, starting with senior citizens. It’s time to make our state a better home for ending Minnesota’s status as one of only several states that taxes social security. It’s also time to fix the Section 179 problem that has resulted in farmers and businesses receiving unexpected state tax bills for thousands and thousands of dollars.

“It will be interesting to see how the House majority receives our proposal because, to me, tax relief always wins out over more government spending.”

The House Republican proposal provides relief to a wide swath of Minnesotans, from seniors to farmers, homeowners, Main Street businesses, college graduates with student loan debt, and families with kids in childcare. The package includes:

  • Eliminating state taxes on social security benefits. House Republicans successfully pushed to eliminate social security taxes for 250,000-plus Minnesotans in 2017, this provision would finish that effort and eliminate social security taxes entirely.
  • Childcare Tax Credit. Republicans are seeking to help families dealing with high childcare expenses by increasing the income threshold for the dependent care credit from the current cap of $52,160 to $75,000 making thousands more families eligible for assistance paying childcare bills.
  • Doubling the student loan tax credit. House Republicans helped create the first-ever student loan tax credit of up to $500 for college graduates making payments on their loans. The new proposal would double that credit to $1,000.
  • Tax Fairness for Farmers and Main Street Businesses. Last session’s failure to enact full Section 179 conformity is causing massive unexpected tax bills for farmers and businesses. House Republicans are proposing to fully conform, and make it retroactive so farmers and businesses are not stuck with tax bills many simply cannot afford.
  • Property Tax Relief. By putting an additional $50 million into school equalization aid, this would effectively result in a property tax cut for Minnesota homeowners by reducing reliance on local property tax revenue.
  • Increasing the Personal Exemption. Every Minnesotan would benefit from an approximately $1,300 increase to the personal exemption.


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