Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio News
Minnesota lawmakers are considering a big reduction in the amount of taxes owed when wealthy people die. In their $2 billion package of tax cuts, Republicans who control the Minnesota House would more than double the amount of money Minnesotans would have to amass before their estates are subject to taxes. Under existing state policy, Minnesota's estate tax kicks in when an individual's wealth tops $1.4 million, an amount that is scheduled to increase to $2 million by 2018.
ST. PAUL – Minnesota House Republicans are moving forward with a budget bill that cuts spending for state government operations by more than $67 million. Despite a $1.9 billion state budget surplus, Republicans aim to trim department budgets, freeze the number of state workers and limit commissioner salaries. The House State Government Omnibus Bill would spend more than $902 million over the next two years. That's nearly 7 percent less than current spending, a reduction that triggered harsh criticism today from Gov.
When Minnesota lawmakers return to the Capitol next week, they will be thinking about taxes. They won't have the looming April 15 filing deadline on their minds, but rather how they should cut taxes with the nearly $1.9 billion state surplus. It won't be easy. House Republicans want $2 billion in tax cuts. But Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Democrats want far less, and they're warning that a too hefty give-back could set the stage for future deficits. With 10 days off, legislators are back home in their districts for some time to reconnect and recharge.
Minnesota House Republicans have unveiled a transportation funding proposal that they say would spend $7 billion over 10 years on roads and bridges without raising taxes. The approach contrasts sharply with DFL Gov.
Gov. Mark Dayton wants railroads to pay significantly higher property taxes to help offset the cost of improvements throughout the state. Dayton's plan, which is part of his larger two-year budget proposal, would generate more than $20 million a year for the state and $45 million for local governments. It would expand the taxable property of railroads to include train cars, locomotives, bridges and other structures and update the method for determining the value of railroad property. Officials didn't have specifics on how much railroads pay now in property taxes.
Gun owners gathered outside the Minnesota Capitol on Tuesday to tell state lawmakers that they plan to be "appropriately aggressive" in protecting their Second Amendment rights during the 2015 legislative session. Many of the same people have spent time at the Capitol in previous sessions, fighting against gun control measures.
ST. PAUL - If there were any doubts that Minnesota's new divided government would quickly yield markedly different approaches to the state's future, they were dispelled on Thursday, when House Republicans and Senate Democrats introduced their first bills of the 2015 session. The competing plans both emphasize job creation and education.
With the 2015 legislative session about to start, Minnesota lawmakers are hearing ideas for spending a projected $1 billion budget surplus. The cushion barely covers inflation on current spending obligations. But that hasn't stopped special interest groups and government leaders from adding to a growing list of funding requests: • True to their name, organizers of the 5 Percent Campaign are back seeking a 5 percent funding increase in each of the next two years for programs that serve senior citizens and people with disabilities.
ST. PAUL - When the Legislative session gets underway in January, the Minnesota House will have 26 new members, including 21 Republicans who will be taking their seats for the first time. Eleven of those Republicans are receiving a lot of attention given that they knocked off incumbent Democrats to flip control of the House to the GOP, shifting the balance of power at the state Capitol, where Democratic Gov.
Republican state Sen. Scott Newman and Brandan Borgos of the Independence Party get one shot at Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. A televised debate the Saturday before Election Day is the only time Swanson will face her two major party challengers. Her re-election strategy, so far, has been to avoid debating them or responding to their criticism.