Minnesota House Democrats detail budget bills focused on education and pandemic relief – Twin Cities
Minnesota House Democrats on Monday unveiled legislation calling for more spending on education and rehabilitation for those hardest hit by the pandemic, while raising taxes for wealthy residents and large corporations.
The bill set follows the $ 52.5 billion budget targets released by House Democrats late last month, which is more than Democratic Governor Tim Walz’s proposal and Senate GOP proposal . The legislation would provide more than $ 1 billion in tax cuts for workers, families and small businesses while raising taxes for the wealthy and businesses that have used the pandemic to fund investments in education and COVID-19 recovery efforts.
The tax bill echoes Walz’s proposal by expanding the tax credit for state-worker families and creating a fifth tax bracket with an 11.15% rate for income more than $ 1 million for a couple declaring jointly. The bill also includes a tax exemption for businesses that received up to $ 350,000 in federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, which lawmakers said would include 90% of Minnesotans who received the loan, and tax relief of up to $ 10,200 in unemployment benefits received by workers.
“The fifth level is also trying to address the big disparities in income that this COVID-19 has brought,” said the chairman of the House Tax Committee, Rep. Paul Marquardt, of Dilworth. “This is a bill that creates more tax fairness, but provides the significant investments in COVID-19 recovery and future investments.”
The education budget bill – which includes $ 722 million in new spending for Kindergarten to Grade 12 – includes increased funding for kindergartens and school districts, as well as several measures to recruit teachers of color while improving the school environment for teachers and students of color. .
The package also includes paid and sick leave, emergency paid leave for healthcare workers, and health and safety protections for meat and poultry processing workers. Other measures would provide grants to businesses that lost revenue during the pandemic, as well as other investments in businesses in underserved communities.
Senate Republicans oppose any further tax increases, citing the state’s projected surplus of $ 1.6 billion and about $ 4.8 billion in federal aid to the state through the President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package. GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka of East Gull Lake called the creation of a fifth tax bracket a ‘bad idea’, and reiterated his call for tax exemptions on all loans PPP.
“In Minnesota, you probably know we’re one of the highest taxed states in the whole country, yet Democrats in the House are saying, ‘We need more, we want more taxes,'” a- he said in a video response on Facebook. “It’s the last thing we need right now.”
The finance bills mark the final stage in budget negotiations as Walz and leaders in the divided legislature work to develop a budget before the legislative session ends in mid-May. Bills are expected to go through committee this week before going to the floor later this month. The next deadline for committee approval of budget bills is Friday.