Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen Weekly Update 1-15-15

January 15, 2015

Friends and Neighbors,

It has been a very face paced week here at your state capitol. The full Finance met for the first time this session as we discussed the destination medical center in Rochester, as well as disaster relief. Many constituents and organizations were in this week to my office. I am currently working on bills regarding the DNR and MPCA. Please continue to read below about other issues that have come up this week.

Tax cuts at the top of the agenda

Senate File 50 is a bill that would put Minnesota’s tax laws back in line with federal laws and allow Minnesotans to take full advantage of IRS deductions is making its way through the legislative process quickly. This bill, which was offered by republicans last year and rejected, has the opportunity to be passed as early as next week. I hope my support of federal tax conformity laws will help you to better plan and avoid the hassle of last-minute filing.

Tax savings measures in the bill will include:

· Educators may deduct up to $250 in expenses for classroom supplies.

· Homeowners may deduct mortgage insurance premiums.

· Students and parents may deduct up to $4,000 in tuition and related higher education expenses.

· Parents of disabled children may create new tax-free savings accounts to pay for certain expenses.

· Seniors 70+ may deduct up to $100,000 in charitable contributions made from IRA accounts.

· Businesses may deduct expenses relating to hiring veterans, research, charitable donations, equipment depreciation, and more.

Common sense budget reform refocuses on priorities

I Co-Authored a new bill which is referred to as Zero-Base budgeting that proposes substantial reforms to the way the Minnesota budget is developed. The current practice of using last year’s budget as a starting point often leads to increased spending on programs that are wasteful and inefficient, and creates a false urgency to raise taxes. If passed, this law will require the state budget to be reset to zero every two years, allowing lawmakers to start with a fresh slate and rebuild the budget according to current revenue projections and spending priorities.

The term “zero based budgeting” has been used to describe this common sense reform. Supporters of this process believe that lawmakers should review state programs on a regular basis to establish their effectiveness before continuing funding.

I believe the legislature should look at the fine example the average middle-class Minnesota family provides. They are the ones who sit down at the kitchen table to develop their budget. They know that we aren’t able to get everything we want and we need to live within our means. Likewise, hardworking taxpayers would be better served if lawmakers built the Minnesota budget every two years based on our priorities today and in the future.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my weekly update. One emerging issue is the gridlock between Governor Dayton and the Senate DFL over the office space in the Capitol. This argument, in my opinion, should not delay the construction that the state has invested millions of dollars in. Please keep an eye on this developing issue. As always feel free to contact me at my office at any time with your legislative concerns at 651-297-8063 or at Sen.Bill.Ingebrigtsen@senate.mn.

Thanks,

Bill

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