Editor's note: The following is reprinted, with permission, from House Speaker Rep. Kurt Zellers (32B) weekly email newsletter. Zellers represents Maple Grove.
It was a busy week in the Minnesota House. We passed some major initiatives in including Photo ID and the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.
The photo ID constitutional amendment passed the Minnesota House by a vote of 72-62 after a 9-hour.
The amendment bill will allow for a public vote in the November election on a photo ID voting requirement. Under the bill, a ballot question would ask if voters would like to add an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would require that, on Election Day, all voters present valid photo identification prior to casting a ballot. A majority vote of the people would amend the constitution, and the Minnesota Legislature would implement the new photo ID requirement in 2013. This amendment would also require state identification be made available at no charge to those who do not already have an ID.
The amendment preserves the ability of all eligible Minnesotans, including military members, college students, and the elderly, to continue voting with ease. It also keeps in place same day voter registration and absentee voting.
Minnesotans deserve to know their vote counts. Photo ID is a simple, common sense measure that protects the integrity of our elections and instills greater confidence in the process.
Tax Relief and Job Creation Act
The Minnesota House also approved the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act by a vote of 72-62. The act is focused on three areas that will encourage long-term economic growth: property tax relief, investment in innovation, and job training/placement programs.
Property Tax Relief
- Freezes the statewide tax on business property for one year and phases out the statewide tax on business property over 12 years beginning in 2014.
- Excludes 70 percent of the first $150,000 of value for all business property in 2013, benefiting small businesses throughout the state especially those in Greater Minnesota.
Investment in Innovation
- Increases funding for the Angel Investment Tax Credit. In 2011, the $16 million allocated to the program ran out in November. The additional $5 million allow for more investment in Minnesota start-up companies and jobs.
- Increases the Research and Development credit by $25 million to encourage entrepreneurship and make Minnesota a more attractive place to do business.
- Provides an upfront sales tax exemption for small businesses, allowing small business to invest in their business or hire additional employees rather than loaning that money to the state’s general fund.
- Establishes the Technology Corporate Franchise Tax Certificate Transfer Program, which allows small, start-up biotech companies in Minnesota to transfer or sell their net operating loss carryovers to larger, more profitable companies. This helps small businesses to gain access to an immediate infusion of cash so they can invest in their operations and hire more employees.
Job Training and Placement
- Creates a internship grant program that is aimed at attracting and keeping talent in Greater Minnesota. The program, which is administrated through the Office of Higher Education, provides a grant of up to $1250 per intern to employers.
- Creates a permanent tax credit of up to $14,400 for employers who hire veterans who are disabled, unemployed or receive food stamps.
Have a great weekend!