Legislative session has state and local governments working together better
By now, you’ve heard the big news from the state Capitol this legislative session: Minnesota became the 12th state to approve same-sex marriages. While this is monumental, the 2013 legislative session also saw improvements in the way the State and the City of Minneapolis work together. Lawmakers passed a number of measures that reinvest in local governments across Minnesota, showing a commitment to helping cities and counties. In addition, the City of Minneapolis worked with lawmakers to get other legislation passed to help residents.
Here are some accomplishments made this legislative session:
- Local Government Aid stabilized – After more than a decade that saw declines in Local Government Aid, lawmakers recommitted to the State-local partnership. An additional $80 million is going toward a new formula to help cities and counties fund basic services. This boost will mean around $12 million in additional Local Government Aid for Minneapolis.
- Sales tax exemption to cities – Until now, purchases made by cities included sales tax. It made little sense to tax cities, the cost of which then fell to property taxpayers. Any purchase the City made cost more, and the burden of paying it fell on Minneapolis taxpayers. Eliminating the sales tax for Minneapolis and other cities will put less of a burden on property owners.
- All-day kindergarten – Half-day kindergarten is free at all Minnesota public schools. Parents who wanted full-day kindergarten for their children usually had to pay for that. Starting fall 2014, all public school kindergarten classes will last the full school day with no additional cost to parents.
- Expanded property tax refund – Homeowners may recall that the original homestead credit was eliminated in 2011. A new, renamed credit (previously known as the “circuit breaker”) is now in effect that will help more homeowners than before. Plus, there’s now a notification process; if you own a home and are due at least $1,000 in a credit refund, the Minnesota Department of Revenue will notify you by mail.
- Renters’ credit – Lawmakers readjusted the income brackets for the renters’ credit. Now, more people will be eligible.
- State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) funding – The City of Minneapolis is a big partner in SHIP, which aims to reduce health care costs through the prevention of chronic diseases. The State re-invested in SHIP, increasing its commitment to $35 million in the biennium – a $20 million increase.
- Tobacco tax – To help encourage people to quit smoking, lawmakers raised the tobacco tax an extra $1.60 a pack.
Published May 30, 2013