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Bar Buzz: Real estate bills make it, bonding didn’t

Kevin Featherly//May 31, 2019

Bar Buzz: Real estate bills make it, bonding didn’t

Kevin Featherly//May 31, 2019

The MSBA reports that the special session tax bill contains a quartet of MSBA proposals:

  • Attributing a deceased spouse’s ownership to a surviving spouse for purposes of the three-year holding requirement in the qualified farm and small business estate tax exemption (Article 2, Sections 23, 24).
  • Allowing married farm couples who hold their property in two linked trusts to maintain agriculture homestead status (Article 4, Section 12).
  • Removing the six-year timeline for an innocent spouse to request separation of tax liability (Article 2, Section 9).
  • Enabling state relief for taxpayers who qualify for “equitable” innocent spouse relief under federal law (Article 2, Section 9).

Rep. Jeanne Poppe (D-Austin) and lawyer-legislator Sen. Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud) sponsored these provisions.

In other news, the StarTribune has disseminated a draft of the 2019 bonding bill that never got off the ground. The newspaper reported it appeared briefly on the House’s website, then vanished.

A $500 million bonding package—with much of the money steered to housing—was part of the budget accord announced on May 19 by the governor and the two House and Senate heads. But the bill quietly died without being introduced during the recent one-day special session.

“We thought that that was going to get done,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said Tuesday. “I’m not sure what happened in the House.”

He said the bill apparently died sometime during the last 30 minutes of the 21-hour special session.

According to the StarTribune, the House didn’t have enough votes to assure passage as the 7 a.m. Saturday deadline for ending the session approached. Passing bonding bills requires a two-thirds majority of each chamber.

There were a couple of items of interest in the draft bill:

  • St. Peter: The bill would have sent $10 million to the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center for Phase 2 of a project to develop  more residential, programming and ancillary facilities for the Minnesota sex offender program on the center’s lower campus. The money would have been used for design, renovations, furnishings and equipment at the facility.
  • Corrections: The bill would have given $19 million to the state Department of Corrections for asset preservation improvements and betterments of a capital nature” at Minnesota prisons across the state. There is no itemization on what specific projects would receive funding.

Gazelka said the Legislature might revisit bonding in 2020. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the bonding bill got bigger for next year,” he said.

The StarTribune reported that it got the draft bill from Bradley Peterson, government relations practice lead for the Flaherty & Hood law firm.

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