Legislative Update – April 23, 2018

Now that the higher education omnibus bills have passed the Senate and House higher education committees, they will be taken up in Senate Finance and House Ways and Means today. This is the next stop for the bills. The Senate higher education omnibus bill can be found here, and the House higher education bill can be found here. Amendments for the House bill in Ways and Means were posted late last week. The one amendment posted for today’s hearing for the higher education bill would reduce the $5 million appropriation to Metropolitan State University’s cybersecurity program to $1 million; would delete the $500,000 appropriation to the workforce development scholarship program, and would appropriate $4.5 million in one-time funds to Minnesota State for campus support. Ways and Means committee members will have the opportunity to discuss and vote on the amendment today. Portions of both hearings can be viewed via webcast.

With the release of omnibus bills and the conclusion of most committee work, we will start to see longer floor sessions this week, with both bodies taking up more bills. Also, one of the most pressing issues facing the Legislature is figuring out how the Minnesota tax code should be conformed to the new federal tax law changes. On Tuesday morning, the House Tax Committee will review the recently-released House Republican tax proposal. Authored by Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, the proposal cuts the tax rate for the second tier from 7.05% to 6.75%, and includes a higher standard deduction for more tax-free income and an increase in the allowable property tax deduction. While differing in their approach, both the House proposal and Governor Dayton’s proposal similarly switch from federal taxable income to federal adjusted gross income to determine Minnesotans’ income tax liability. Senate Republicans have not yet released their tax plan.

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