News from Representative Franson
This week the Minnesota Management and Budget released their annual February budget forecast indicating a surplus of $323 million. Last November the forecast indicated an $876 million surplus, that money has been properly allocated according to state law to replenish the state’s financial reserves. After that money is allocated, the state budget essentially returns to zero. Since the budget bill was signed by the governor we now have a surplus of $1.2 billion.
This is great news for Minnesota, and indicates an improvement in the economy. With unemployment dropping to 5.7 percent that is much lower than the national average of 8.5 percent. This surplus also allows the state to begin paying back the K-12 school shift. At least $318 million will go toward paying back our schools, starting with the first payment this month.
The Defense of Dwelling and Person Act, better known as Castle Doctrine re-passed the House this week as well, and the bill will now be making its way to the governor’s desk. This bill would allow an occupant of a home or vehicle to use any level of defensive force against a criminal who unlawfully and by force or stealth intrudes into a home or vehicle and presents a risk of substantial bodily harm. The bill does not provide these protections for someone who uses deadly force against a police officer.
You can find more information on this bill by visiting the MN House website.
Minnesota’s property tax relief programs provide property tax relief directly to taxpayers. Last year, the Legislature passed and Governor Dayton signed a $30 million increase in direct refunds for Minnesota homeowners.
The two main programs for property tax relief are, the Property Tax Refund for all homeowners, subject to income guidelines, and the Special Property Tax Refund designed for homeowners who see unusually large increases.
Forms for submitting refunds can be found at the Department of Revenue’s tax page.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has many tools for our military families. I would encourage all of our military families to visit the department’s website and see how it can be of help, or contact my office for more information.
Please make sure to participate in my 2012 legislative survey! This is a great way to let your voice be heard.
Have a great weekend!