Readers’ Views

Terrific news in St. Paul

To the Editor:

The Minnesota Legislature has concluded its business for the 2017 session, and the biggest highlight is a $650 million tax relief proposal that benefits the middle class, as well as a transportation funding proposal that prioritizes long-term road and bridge construction projects.

We now have the largest tax-relief proposal that we’ve approved in decades, and hundreds of millions will be dedicated to our road and bridge needs without raising taxes. I think this is a terrific news for the middle-class Minnesotan, and especially the rural middle-class Minnesotan.

A highlight of the tax bill includes $117 million in relief for Minnesota’s senior citizens, as recipients of Social Security will be allowed an additional subtraction from taxable income. Nearly $55 million will be used to address college affordability through a first-in-the-nation tax credit for student loan payments; $20 million in subtractions and credits for families saving for college using 529 Savings Plans; $34 million in relief for farmers by reducing the burden farmers and agriculture land owners pay for school bond referendums; $36 million for families with young children by modifying the child and dependent care credit; $95 million in relief for hometown businesses by exempting the first $100,000 in property value from the extra tax on businesses and freezing its automatic inflator.

The transportation plan dedicates billions of dollars over the next 10 years toward the state’s transportation needs without raising the gas tax or license tab fees. The proposal allocates $16 million for the Small Cities Assistance Program to assist cities with fewer than 5,000 residents with their street repair needs; $25 million to fund over 97 bridges on MNDOT’s priority list; and $102 million for trunk highways, and $63 million for county and city roads.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,