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McNamar says session will help farmers, homeowners, businesses

State Representative Jay McNamar, DFL-Elbow Lake, gave an upbeat appraisal of the 2014 legislative session, saying it will help homeowners, renters, farmers and businesses.

In his newsletter, McNamar said the “Tax Bill 2” provides $103 million in additional tax cuts. In all, the Legislature provided $550 million in tax cuts this session, giving relief to nearly 2 million Minnesotans, he said.

“This session we continued to focus on the things that have really mattered to me – increasing funding for nursing homes, keeping life in rural communities affordable through middle-class tax relief, reinvesting in our school kids, job creation in rural Minnesota, and property tax relief for the first time in a decade,” said Jay McNamar, who represents District 12A, which includes part of Douglas County.

McNamar said the tax bill will benefit the following:

Farmers. The legislation builds off the effort to restore the Homestead Credit by enhancing the market value credit for homesteaded farms. The result is an immediate $17 million in property tax relief to more than 90,000 homesteaded farms. An average family farmer in Minnesota will see $410 in property tax relief, an increase of about $200.

Homeowners. A one-time increase for all Homestead Credit Refunds paid in 2014. Every homeowner receiving a refund will see a 3 percent increase, providing an additional $12.1 million in property tax relief to 500,000 Minnesota homeowners. The average homeowner will see a refund of $837 for 2014.

Renters. A one-time increase for all Renters’ Credit Refunds paid in 2014. Every renter receiving a refund will see a 6 percent increase, providing an additional $12.5 million in property tax relief to 350,000 Minnesota renters. The average renter will see a refund of $643.

Tax Bill 2 included McNamar’s provisions to increase County Program Aid for Big Stone, Grant, and Stevens counties to 2013 levels, as part of correcting the funding formula for rural counties with high agricultural land values.

Among other provisions, the second tax cut bill will also treat military income paid to National Guard members in Active Guard/Reserve status now like other forms of active-duty military pay and eligible to be subtracted from income taxes.

McNamar said the House’s supplemental budget included critical investments in Greater Minnesota job creation, caregivers, and education.

McNamar was the chief author of a provision that increases funding for the West Central Initiative Foundation. The funding provides resources for existing small business revolving loan funds that offer loans and gap financing for small businesses in need of capital.

The budget also contains business provisions authored by McNamar that will provide $750,000 in grants for the ethanol plant in Morris, and a Department of Labor and Industry provision that cuts red tape by allowing local building inspections to be done by local inspectors, keeping contracts local and expediting inspection processes.

The budget increases funding for home and community-based long-term care providers by 5 percent and appropriates $20 million for a border-to-border grant fund to promote the development of broadband, McNamar said. Areas of the state with low broadband connectivity will receive priority.

The budget also provides a formula funding increase for K-12 schools, an increase of $25 per pupil, to further improve education outcomes. The budget also increases funding for early childhood scholarships and lifts the cap on scholarship funding per child.

Other highlights of session, said McNamara, include propane assistance, a minimum wage increase and the Women’s Economic Security Act.