May 25, 2005

MN Legislative Alert

Received today from my statewide homeschool group:

The legislature has gone into Special Session again to finalize negotiations on 2005 legislation. One of the issues still in play is expanding the education tax credit! An expansion of the education tax credit currently exists in the House Omnibus Tax Bill HF785 and a weaker version is in the Senate Omnibus Tax Policy Bill SF1683.

The language proposed by Representative Knoblach in HF1054 that was moved into Representative Krinkie's Omnibus Tax Bill lifts the family limit on the number of children to which the credit can apply and gradually reduces the credit applicable to families by income level as it relates to the federal poverty guidelines.

Current statute allows a family $1,000 per child up to $2,000 per family and cuts off the credit at income levels beyond $37,500. These changes essentially eliminate discrimination against large families and benefit every school age child in a family. The House version also brings immediate relief, whereas the Senate version does not begin until the tax year of 2006.

The main resistance to expansion of the education tax credit has been in the Senate where a weaker version was passed. Because of this, the education tax credit expansion is vulnerable when the Conference Committee takes it up in their negotiations. We are asking you to make calls to your senator and representative and ask that they support the improvements to the education tax credit as it exists in the House tax bill, HF785.

Identify yourself as a constituent and parent of school age children who would benefit most from the House version of the tax credit expansion. It is important that they hear the message, "Please retain the expansion of the education tax credit as it appears in the House Omnibus Tax Bill." Also encourage your legislator to contact the Tax Conference Committee members and encourage them to retain the House language. You can also state any or all of the following reasons:

The House version provides immediate relief for families.
It treats families more equitably by serving all qualifying children within a family, not just up to two.
The removal of the limit to which the number of children the credit can apply eliminates discrimination against large families.
The improvement in the tax credit reaches more low income and needy families.
The House version factors in inflation to income limitations.
The tax credit strengthens the quality of education options by giving parents the opportunity to choose from a multitude of services, programs, and materials in which they can invest their money to best serve their children's educational needs.
It benefits all children, public and private educated.

If you are not certain who your senator is or what district you live in, please go to District Finder and type in your street address (it may be sensitive to how you enter your street information, e.g. use "County Road" rather than "Co. Rd."). If you already know this information you can find the telephone and email contact information for your senator at Senator Alphabetical List .

Those who live in the district of the following Conference Committee members and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson are especially encouraged to contact their senator because they will play a key role in the final negotiations of the tax bill. All phone numbers begin with area code 651.

Senate Majority Leader, Senator Dean Johnson (District 13 - Willmar) 296-3826;

Senator Larry Pogemiller (District 59 - Minneapolis) - 296-7809;

Senator William Belanger (District 40 - Bloomington) 296-5975;

Senator Don Betzold (District 51 - Fridley) 296-2556;

Senator Mee Moua (District 67 - St. Paul) 296-5285;

Senator Rod Skoe (District 2 - Clearbrook) 296-4196;

Representative Philip Krinkie (District 53A - Shoreview) 296-2907;

Representative Ron Abrams (District 43B - Minnetonka) 296-9934;

Representative Morrie Lanning (District 9A - Moorhead) 296-5515 or (800) 657-3742;

Representative Ann Lenczewski (District 40B - Bloomington) 296-4218;

Representative Dean Simpson (District 10B - New York Mills) 296-4293 or (800) 914-3172;

Senator Gen Olson, Senator Michele Bachmann, Senator Julianne Ortman, Representative Jim Knoblach, Representative Barb Sykora, Representative Joyce Peppin, Representative Ray Vandeveer all introduced bills this session to expand the education tax credit. You are encouraged to thank them for their support when you contact them.

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