LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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When the 2016 Legislative Session began on March 8th, the Governor and the Legislature were faced with several weighty political questions:

  • What will be done with the $900 million budget surplus?
  • How big will the bonding bill be and which projects will be funded?
  • What will be in the tax bill and who will get the relief?
  • Will there be a comprehensive transportation bill?
  • Will Minnesota pass Federal REAL ID compliance legislation?

….and, the question hovering in the background of every discussion about the 2016 Session, was:

  • Will Minnesota’s DFL Governor, DFL Senate Majority Leader, and Republican Speaker of the House be able to work together, or will it be a “do nothing” Session heading into an election year for the Senate and the House?

At the end of the ten-week session, the Legislative chose to respectfully answer those questions with a question… Will there be a Special Session?

The Minnesota House Officially adjourned for the Session on Sunday, May 22nd. The Senate adjourned the following day.

The 2016 (Regular) Session of the 89th Minnesota Legislature is complete, with both bodies leaving St. Paul without passing a bonding bill, a comprehensive transportation bill, or a Real ID compliance measure.

The Legislature did pass a tax bill that will provide $257 million dollars in tax relief in Fiscal Years 2016-2017, and also a $182 million supplemental budget bill (if the Governor signs them into law).

The tax bill includes federal conformity for mortgage debt forgiveness (the short sale issue), which passes along the same tax benefit available for federal tax purposes to taxpayers for Minnesota tax purposes. Without this provision, and debt that is “forgiven” when a taxpayer files his/her federal taxes would have to be added back and counted as income when he/she files his/her Minnesota taxes. Minnesota REALTORS® advocate for federal conformity, and we are pleased that his provision is in the tax bill.

In addition to federal conformity, the 2016 Session produced a couple of other important “wins” for REALTORS®, which we will discuss in detail in our upcoming Minnesota REALTORS® 2016 Legislative Update.

Finally, 2016 is an election year, which means the weighty political questions will now shift back to the voters. Over the course of this summer and fall, candidates for the House and Senate will ask their neighbors how they feel about the fiscal and policy results of recent Legislative Sessions. In a broader sense, Minnesotans will be asked how they feel about divided Government. We will get our answers on November 8th.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.

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