Just two weeks ago, Governor Mark Dayton signed new tax cuts into law that are already saving Minnesotans time and money, and making filing taxes simpler for more than 1 million middle class Minnesotans and thousands of businesses. Watch this video to learn more about how Governor Dayton’s tax reforms are saving time, money, and hassle for small business owners like Ravi Norman of Thor Construction.
|Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson finger paints with children at Amanda Rupar’s Family Child Care in Sartell, Minn., to highlight growing participation in the Parent Aware quality rating system and recent investments in early childhood education|
Last year, Governor Dayton and the legislature worked together to invest in high-quality early learning opportunities. One of these newly implemented initiatives is Parent Aware, a program designed to rate different pre-k educational services. Based on a four star rating system, the program relies on voluntary evaluations of different day-care providers, and, through educational workshops, equips them with information on how to create a safe and stimulating day care environment. When looking for place to send their kids parents can simply go to the Parent Aware Website, and look up ratings.
The minimum standard for a 1 star ratting requires ongoing documentation of a child’s learning progress, while achievement of a four star rating takes much more: including sensitivity to cultural differences among children, evidence that lesson plans are tailored to the learning needs of individual students, and training for pre-k care for students with disabilities.
Minnesota’s Parent Aware rating system will help parents assess their options for childcare, but also encourage providers to become up to date on the latest techniques for encouraging early cognitive development.
The process of accreditation requires that providers frequently participate in workshops to learn about the latest research in early childhood education. This ensures that they remain up to date about the best approaches to early learning, and can continually revise their curriculum.
Governor Dayton and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans encourage Minnesota Taxpayers to file their taxes now
Minnesota Department of Revenue officials today told all taxpayers to file their tax returns NOW. The news comes one day before the original target date. For over one million taxpayers who have not yet filed, they can file now with forms and software that include the new tax law changes passed on March 21.
“Many thousands of Minnesotans will benefit from the tax cuts that were passed by the Legislature just over one week ago. I urge Minnesotans to file their taxes now, and claim all the tax cuts and credits for which they are eligible,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
“Completing the update one day early was a big accomplishment for Revenue staff working closely with our partners in the private sector” said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.
All taxpayers should begin filing their taxes NOW and file on or before April 15, 2014, which is the deadline unless taxpayers ask the IRS for an extension.
Software Providers: All Department of Revenue-certified tax software providers have updated their software to reflect the new tax law changes. Updated tax forms and schedules are also on our website here. The department advises taxpayers using desktop tax software on their personal computers to accept and install updates from their software provider so they are filing with the most up-to-date software.
Change of Address: Taxpayers who have changed addresses since their last filing should notify the department of their new address so refunds and correspondence from the department reach the correct destination.
Who Qualifies? About 300,000 taxpayers qualify for the new 2013 middle class tax breaks. These changes match the Minnesota tax forms more closely with federal forms and rules. If you properly claim these deductions on your federal return, they will be included in determining your Minnesota income tax. View a list of the benefits on our website to see if they apply to you.
Already filed your return? We will review it. If you qualify for a new deduction or credits, one of three things will happen after our review:
Learn more about tax changes on the Minnesota Department of Revenue's website here.
Getting ready for college or career school can be easier than you think. Visit the FAFSA website for more information.
Governor Dayton knows that providing all of our students access to affordable post-secondary education is vital to preparing all Minnesotans for great jobs for generations to come. Last year, Governor Dayton worked with the Legislature to increase financial aid for our students and freeze tuition at public colleges and universities. Now, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education encourages students to take advantage of the recently improved Free Application for Federal Student form (FAFSA) to access additional student aid.
The U.S. Department of Education improved the FAFSA by adding two new features to make the application simpler to complete and to encourage more Americans to get the education they need for bright futures. The new FAFSA Completion Tool and Financial Aid Toolkit make the application process straightforward, and help high school principals and counselors identify students who should complete the form. Here in Minnesota, the Office of Higher Education has ratcheted up its outreach efforts to help students and families complete the form.
FAFSA Reform – By the Numbers
23 minutes Time it takes to complete the FAFSA online
58% High school seniors completed the FAFSA in 2012-2013
70% High school seniors who completed the FAFSA that enrolled in college or university
Increasing educational opportunity for all Minnesotans is critical creating good jobs and bright futures. The Governor is dedicated to ensuring that Minnesotans have access to post-secondary education – making it easier to get financial aid will help achieve this important goal.
This blog post originally appeared on the Minnesota Department of Education website blogg[ed]MN.
Since taking office, Governor Mark Dayton has made a number of critical investments in early education. One significant investment came in 2011 when Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $5.45 million in the Minnesota Reading Corps to expand the program and help more students gain access to one-on-one tutoring.
In fact, 30,000 students benefited from the Minnesota Reading Corps AmeriCorps individualized, one-on-one tutoring to kindergarten through third grade students and using proven literacy interventions last year.
And the best part is: It’s working.
Today, a new report shows that this work is resulting in big improvements for the state’s youngest learners.
The study, conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, analyzed the impact of the Minnesota Reading Corps on improving student achievement in reading. It looked at a sample of 1,350 Minnesota students from Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, and followed their performance over a 16-week period in the 2012-2013 school year.
Check out some of these amazing highlights from the report:
Interested in reading more about the study? Here are some links to materials from today’s report:
Last summer, Governor Dayton asked Minnesotans to send him their “Unsession suggestions.” Thanks to your good ideas, Governor Dayton delivered over 1,000 Unsession proposals to the Legislature. Some of these proposals have already become law and the Governor hopes to sign hundreds more Unsession provisions into law in the coming weeks.
This is the first video in a series focused on the Unsession. Check it out and stay tuned in the coming weeks to see how Governor Dayton is working to make better government for a better Minnesota.
New research shows the percentage of young Minnesotans enrolling in higher education has increased dramatically. Between 2003 and 2011, the rate increased from 68 percent to 78 percent – a 10 percent jump. This is great news for Minnesota’s fast growing economy, which depends on a highly educated workforce.
To make further progress, last year Governor Dayton and the Legislature made the largest investment in student aid in a generation. This investment was important and urgent because Minnesota students borrow more money for education than the national average. This was a huge step in making more financial aid available for the students of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Measures: 2014 Report on Higher Education Performance also shows that 71 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduates depend on grants and scholarships to pay for their education. Commissioner Larry Pogemiller said the increasing enrollment of recent graduates shows the importance of the Minnesota State Grant, which provides need-based grants to over 100,000 Minnesotans.
Governor Mark Dayton today signed legislation (HF1777) cutting taxes for middle class Minnesotans and businesses. The $508 million tax cut signed into law today will put more money in the pockets of middle class families, individuals, and thousands of businesses across Minnesota. Because the Legislature acted quickly to pass the bill, many Minnesotans will see immediate tax savings during the current tax filing season.
“These tax cuts will put more money in the pockets of Minnesota families and businesses, and in the spirit of the Unsession, make taxes simpler for Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Tax Chairs Rod Skoe, Ann Lenczewski and Ann Rest, and the other legislators, who spearheaded these tax cuts to passage.”
Since some of these tax cuts will be available immediately during this filing season, the Minnesota Department of Revenue is working with tax preparers and online tax preparation services to update tax filing software for the estimated 1.4 million Minnesotans who have not yet filed their taxes.
For those Minnesotans who have already filed their taxes, the Minnesota Department of Revenue will review each tax return and determine whether adjustments and refunds can be made automatically. The Department will contact any taxpayer who will need to file an amended return to receive these new tax benefits.
Reducing Taxes for Middle Class Minnesotans ($230M)
By conforming Minnesota’s tax code to the federal government’s, the bill signed today by Governor Dayton will simplify taxes and provide tax cuts for middle class Minnesotans.
The latest State Budget Forecast is great news for Minnesota! For the first time in seven years, the Forecast is predicting budget surpluses for our state’s current biennium and the next one. When I took office three years ago, the 2011 Forecast predicted a deficit of $5 billion for the next two years. This year’s Forecast predicts a surplus of $2.6 billion.