Just the Facts, Ma’am – Facts On the Issues
SEN. CARLA NELSON VOTED FOR PROPERTY TAX RELIEF
The State of Minnesota tried to provide property tax relief by paying local units of government something called the Homestead Market Value Credit, with the hope that the local units of government would then not need to raise as much through property taxes.
Minnesota individual homeowners never received a single dime from the Homestead Market Credit in its ten years of existence — every bit of that money went directly to county and municipal governments.
That is, when the State eventually got around to issuing the credit windfall to those local governments: In nine of the ten years of its existence, local governments never saw a dime, either.
Here are some facts about the Homestead Market Credit:
- The Homestead Market Credit is a tiny fraction of the Rochester city and Olmsted County budgets. Ultimately, only local leaders (meaning: NOT the Governor nor the Minnesota State Legislature) can decide how much to spend and how much to levy taxes on local property owners.
- The Homestead Market Value Credit system was broken. In ten years of its existence, the program only fully reimbursed local governments one time. That is why eliminating the Homestead Market Value Credit was supported by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Inter-County Association, and the Association of Metro Municipalities.
- The funding for the Homestead Market Value Credit was so unreliable that many cities never even counted it in their budgets. Those that did were often left holding the bag for the state’s empty promises.
- The Homestead Market Value Credit, when paid, was property tax relief sent to local governments, not individual taxpayers.
- The 2011 Republican-controlled legislature reformed the Homestead Market Value Credit, making it a Homestead Market Value Exclusion and paid the property tax relief directly to taxpayers, not to cities and counties.
- Here is what the League of Minnesota Cities said about the conversion to the new system: “…local governments will be better able to make budget and property tax decisions going forward and will be clearly accountable to their taxpayers for those decisions. Ultimately, that’s better for our cities and for local property taxpayers.”
100 percent of every dollar collected in property taxes stays in your local communities.
In contrast, only 66 cents of every dollar collected by the State of Minnesota ever come back to Olmsted County.
SEN. CARLA NELSON VOTED FOR VETERANS‘ BENEFITS INCREASES
“Freedom is a precious thing, preserved with the blood of Patriots. We must hold it dear,” said Sen. Nelson. “I have the greatest admiration and thanks for the men and women who wear the uniform, and who are willing to put their very lives on the line to protect my freedoms. It is our duty to teach our youth about freedom and its cost.”
In her first term in the Minnesota State Senate, Sen. Nelson voted to increase veterans’ benefits and tax deductions in the budgets for FY 2013 through 2015. Sen. Nelson’s votes helped reinstate funding for the military pension tax deduction, the military pension credit for past service, and the credit for military service in a combat zone increase. “We must always honor our veterans and their service. That is why I worked to maintain these benefits and deductions that aid our veterans in making ends meet, especially our disabled veterans,” Sen. Nelson said. “Many people think only the federal Department of Veterans Affairs helps our returning heroes, but our state government here in Minnesota is likewise grateful for their service and sacrifice, and we want to do everything in our power to assist them.”
SEN. CARLA NELSON’S VOTES ON THE BUDGET ERASED THE DEFICIT AND
GAVE MINNESOTA A $1.2 BILLION BUDGET SURPLUS
Recently, articles and commentary have made spurious attempts to call into question the validity of the $1.2 billion surplus in our state budget for the current 2012-13 biennium.
Here are the facts:
Don’t just take our word for it. According to the Minnesota Management and Budget’s two most recent budget announcements for 2012-13, from November 2011 and February 2012. Note that the surpluses described in the two announcements sum up to, when added together, $1.2 billion. This is a turn around from the $6.2 billion deficit in the November 2010 budget forecast.
Also note that Minnesota Management and Budget’s forecast for the upcoming biennium shows a 6% increase in state revenues, amounting to $2 billion. The February 2012 announcement showed 2012-13 projected revenue of $33.8 billion, and showed 2014-15 projected revenue of $35.8 billion.
So, as we head into our next budget with flush reserves and $2 billion of new money, I am confident we can fund our priorities with no cuts, and make significant progress toward paying back the school shift. I will also push very hard for the small business tax relief we passed last year which was vetoed by Governor Datyon. The $1.1 billion projected deficit you see is based on the projected growth in spending to $36.8 billion, an increase of $3 Billion or 9%.
As for the talking point that the Republican-controlled legislature “balanced the budget on the backs of education,” nothing could be further from the truth. The DFL-controlled legislature and then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty borrowed $1.4 billion of one-time money from our schools. In addition, the budget compromise with the Governor accepted his $700 million of additional one time money borrowed from our schools. The good news is that $318 million of that has been repaid and sent back to our schools in July this year. The legislature also passed legislation to send the remaining $382 million back to our schools. Unfortunately, this was vetoed by DFL Governor Mark Dayton.
As a former teacher I was well aware that a one time delay in a portion of the funding to schools, was better than a permanent reduction in funding, I knew that the delay in some of the payment could cause schools to face a cash flow problem. That is why I successfully fought to add additional funds to the per pupil formula of $150 per pupil for the biennium For example, this was nearly $1.8 million of new funding to the Rochester public schools. We will continue to make significant progress toward paying back the one time money borrowed from schools.
Click below for Minnesota Management and Budget’s two most recent budget announcements for 2012-13. Note: the surpluses described in the two announcements are additive: