Brainerd, Jenkins and Pequot Lakes would all see increases in Local Government Aid (LGA) in the Omnibus Tax Bill that passed the Minnesota House of Representatives this week, Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, said in a statement.
The tax bill, supported by Ward, passed on a vote of 69 to 64. The bill, he said, balances the budget, provides property tax relief, fully pays back the school shift and funds strategic investments in education, middle-class tax relief, and job creation.
The bill increases LGA by $80 million statewide, according to Ward’s news release. Brainerd would receive a nearly 15 percent increase; Pequot Lakes would receive a 15 percent increase (from 2013 levels) and Jenkins would receive LGA dollars for the first time, according Ward’s statement.
“After a decade-long cycle of deficits, shifts, and gimmicks, this bill responsibly funds a balanced budget into the future,” Rep. Ward said. “We’re doing the right thing: balancing the budget honestly, providing property tax relief, paying back our schools, and raising revenue fairly.”
The bill provides $270 million in middle-class property tax relief for nearly 1 million Minnesotans through the Homestead Credit Refund, retooled renters’ credit and increased aid to cities and counties.
“This is great news for the people of Minnesota, especially for us in greater Minnesota where property taxes have increased eight times more than in the metro, and greater Minnesota business taxes have increased three times more than the metro,” Ward said.
The House Tax Bill pays back the $854 million still owed to Minnesota schools through a temporary, two-year income tax surcharge on the wealthiest 0.5 percent of Minnesotans — taxable income greater than $500,000 per year for joint filers.
The bill asks the wealthiest 1.1 percent of Minnesotans to pay more by raising the income tax rate to 8.49 percent for individuals with a taxable income greater than $226,000 or $400,000 for joint filers. That 1.1 percent would pay an addition $3,700 per year on average. This increase would only affect 3.3 percent of businesses. This group currently pays a smaller percentage in income taxes than low-and middle-income earners.
The third revenue component in the bill recovers state costs from tobacco and alcohol consumption.