Minnesota House Agenda for Spring 2016 Session
- First on the list of agenda items focused on greater Minnesota is high speed internet. Over 99.9 percent of households in the seven-county metro have access to broadband service that meets the state’s goals. For the rest of Minnesota, this is only 80 percent. In many counties, for example, Aitkin County, less than half of all households have access to broadband.
- Also on the agenda are crumbling roads and bridges. More than half of state highways are more than 50 years old and 40 percent of bridges are more than 40 years old.
- Workforce housing is also on the list. The Minnesota Housing Finance Authority estimates greater Minnesota needs 4,500-7,500 additional rental units to bring the vacancy rate in line with the rest of the state.
- Investment in education and workforce training also made the list. Legislators hope to help students get good paying jobs by doubling school reimbursement for technical and career education programs.
- Property tax relief proposals include increases in local government aid, returning it to 2002 levels; property tax relief for farmers through an agricultural school building bond credit and oil train safety measures that asks rail companies to pay their “fair share to keep rural communities safe.”
- Measures focused specifically on senior citizens include direct tax relief for seniors through homestead and renter’s credits and funding for a respite program that would make it easier for families to provide care for loved ones with dementia.
- By 2030, 1.3 million Minnesotans will be over 65 – about 20 percent of the state’s population. In the southwest and west central portions of the state, 20 percent of the population is already over 65. While 30 percent of the state’s total population lives in greater Minnesota, 41 percent of those over 65 currently live there.