The Minnesota Capitol. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.
House Democratic leaders on Tuesday outlined plans intended to reduce the costs of child care, housing and prescription drugs, setting up their negotiating position with Senate Republicans as the legislative session enters its final stretch.
With a projected $9.25 billion budget surplus, House DFL leaders also proposed targeted tax changes they say are aimed at workers and Minnesota families.
“House DFLers care deeply about the challenges that Minnesotans are facing,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park. “It’s getting harder for workers and families to make ends meet.”
House Democrats have also proposed a $3 billion infusion of money into schools.
By contrast, Republicans who control the state Senate have proposed a minor increase in education funding, offering instead a more sweeping cut on the first income tax tier and elimination of the tax on Social Security benefits.
The contrast will define the rest of the legislative session, whose adjournment is scheduled for May 23.
Among the DFL tax proposals are a credit for parents of up to $3,000 for each child under the age of five, for a maximum of $7,500. The plan also includes a refundable tax credit of $325, fashioned as a rebate.
A plan by Gov. Tim Walz to give Minnesotans direct payments of up to $1,000 has thus far got the cold shoulder from both House DFL and Senate GOP lawmakers.
Democrats also want to change eligibility for the state’s renters tax credit, making it available for a greater number of renters. Minnesota homeowners claiming a homestead tax credit would also see larger refunds.
If approved, the legislation would also cap the costs of insulin, asthma inhalers and EpiPens, an auto-injectable device that delivers the drug epinephrine and treats allergic reactions. The drugs would be capped at $25 a month.
Lawmakers have a Friday deadline to move legislation before a legislative Easter break.
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