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Groups claim students may lose out to corporate loopholes

May 13, 2013 by

By Beth Hawkins –

You know the old saw about how it’s all over but the shouting? With conference committees meeting in St. Paul, it may seem like the 2013 session is all but wrapped, but literally billions of dollars of revenue and spending hang in the balance.

Two places where some of the most dramatic shifts must take place are in taxes and education. Thursday, a joint legislative panel took up both chambers’ omnibus K-12 education bills, the House of Representatives’ HF630, sponsored by Dilworth DFLer Paul Marquart and Maplewood DFLer Sen. Chuck Wiger’s SF453.

Both bills increase general fund spending on education in the next biennium, the House by $550 million and the Senate by $487 million. And both include some things long on educators’ wish lists, such as all-day kindergarten and early childhood education.

There is still widespread disappointment that, adjusted for inflation, neither version comes close to making up for the more than $2,100 per pupil by which state aid has fallen over the last two decades.

And there are big differences in how the two chambers get there. The Senate would reduce school levies by $150 million in its education bill and another $75 million in its tax plan. And the House would spend $854 million in its tax plan to pay back the school-aid shift lawmakers used to balance the budget two years ago.

It doesn’t have to be quite such a stark either-or equation, according to an analysis being released Friday by the Service Employees International Union Local 284, TakeAction Minnesota, the Minneapolis Teachers Federation and Minnesota 2020. “Students vs. Subsidies: The Cost of Corporate Tax Loopholes in Minnesota,” points out that nine corporate subsidies lawmakers could yet close in ongoing tax discussions are worth more than $580 million.

The loopholes are currently on the table, but lawmakers would use the new money to lower the overall corporate tax rate, which, counter to popular thought, is already one of the lowest in the nation.

If the revenue were instead redirected to education, the report points out, K-12 funding could be increased by $348 per student each year of the biennium, restoring about 16 percent of the buying power schools had in 1991.

via Groups claim students may lose out to corporate loopholes | MinnPost.

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