A weekly message from your Senator:

Dear Friends,

This week marks the first votes on the Senate floor on important and timely legislation. Senate File 1 and Senate File 3 were debated and voted on (more details below) as we aim to provide health insurance premium relief for 125,000 Minnesotans and tax conformity that will benefit Minnesota’s middle class.

A quick note on my vote in support S.F.1, which aims to provide premium tax relief, I was the only Democrat to vote with the Republican majority on this important policy and relief measure. Although I am not 100% in agreement with the bill, I did what I believed is in the best interest of my constituents who have contacted me and desperately want the legislature to act. I am confident we will find a path to compromise and my vote reflects my willingness to take all ideas to the negotiating table to find common ground. Please reach out to me with your questions or concerns on this important legislation.


Senator Melisa Franzen  

Health Insurance Premium Relief 

This week the Senate fast-tracked Senate File 1 through four committee hearings and voted on the Senate floor (watch the Senate Floor debate again here). The bill provides for health insurance premium relief for some Minnesotans purchasing their coverage through the individual health insurance market and includes several health insurance reform initiatives.

Providing premium relief to Minnesotans who are struggling with sky-rocketing health insurance premiums is an idea supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. However, despite my vote in support, the Senate plan will delay urgently-needed premium relief until 2018. Minnesotans need relief now, not later. Under a proposal introduced by Governor Dayton more than 70 days ago, Minnesotans purchasing insurance on the individual market would see an immediate 25% reduction on their premiums in 2017. It is the fastest and most efficient way to keep more money in the pockets of Minnesotans who are struggling to absorb the massive premium increases.

I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bridge the differences in proposals to benefit Minnesotans who need relief now.  

Senate File 1 now awaits a vote in the House. (S.F. 1).

Session's first day of floor votes provides tax relief for Minnesota Families

The Minnesota Senate provided much-needed tax relief to thousands of Minnesotans with its first day of bill passage in the 2017 Session. The tax conformity bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

The Legislature worked together to quickly pass a $21.7 million middle-class tax-relief package in the first 10 days of the 2017 Session. This means less confusion for taxpayers and tax preparers, and more tax savings for teachers, homeowners, small business owners, and thousands of other Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Legislature is faced with considering tax conformity each time Congress updates the federal tax code. There have been past sessions when the Legislature has not been able to afford to conform to many federal tax benefits, creating headaches – and higher bills – for taxpayers. This year’s quick conformity agreement is due in large part to the balanced budget passed in 2013.

Specific tax-relief measures in this bill include:

·         About 70,000 Minnesota teachers will be able to deduct up to $250 of the hard-earned money they take from their pockets and invest in their classrooms and professional development each year.

·         About 35,000 Minnesotans paying tuition will save an average $125 by being able to deduct up to $4,000 in qualified tuition and related expenses.

·         Combat-injured veterans who received combat-related severance payments from which taxes were improperly withheld will be able to file amended tax returns through Dec. 31, 2018.

·         About 80,000 Minnesota homeowners will save an average $60by being allowed to continue deducting mortgage insurance premiums paid during the year.This also is cited as a home-buying incentive for those looking to enter the housing market.

·         Homeowners who lost their house to foreclosure or short sale will see much-needed financial relief by being allowed to exclude the difference between their outstanding mortgage balance and the home’s sale price from taxable income.

Minnesotans will be able to take advantage of the tax relief when they begin filing their 2016 taxes on Jan. 23. In most cases, Minnesota taxpayers will receive federal conformity-related tax refunds without any action required by the taxpayer. (H.F. 2/S.F. 3)

Use the links below to follow me for more updates throughout the session!