Senate wants $900 million in tax cuts

Published 9:41 am Thursday, March 30, 2017

ST. PAUL — Senate Republicans said Wednesday that they are pursuing deep tax cuts of nearly $900 million over the next two years for students, families and those on Social Security.

Their bill directs over half of those breaks — $633 million — to individual taxes, in large part by shrinking the lowest tax bracket over a quarter of a percent. Republicans also want to increase the working family credit, encourage online filing and bring certain laws, like the estate tax, in line with federal levels.

Republican Sen. Roger Chamberlain, of Lino Lakes, said the bill has a special focus on rural areas and businesses.

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Several tax credits would be altered or created as a part of the bill, including new credits for workforce housing development and those paying off student loans.

“Our goal was to start to bring relief to all Minnesotans, from the farm to the city, from main street to downtown Minneapolis,” Chamberlain said. “They should all start taking part in some of this shared prosperity we hope to bring.”

The bill represents a starting point for negotiations between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton, whose proposed budget calls for $300 million in tax credits and cuts, mostly geared toward helping parents cover child care costs and increasing aid to low-income residents.

Dayton has said in the past that he won’t support policies whose costs greatly increase over time.

Most of the larger parts of the Senate’s tax bill have modest increases in the future, but one in particular, estate tax reform, would grow quickly. It would cost nearly $30 million over the first two years but balloon to more than $116 million in the two after that. And many Democratic opponents have said the cut is little more than a break for the wealthiest in the state.

The Senate tax committee will take up the bill again today for public testimony and lawmaker comment.