Students to benefit from legislative decisions

by Erin Ghere

Everyone can use extra cash, and the state Legislature offered to give a little more to and take a little less from students in two mid-May decisions.
Some students will receive rebate checks in the mail once again this summer, and most will pay less to register their vehicles next year thanks to a bill waiting to be signed by Gov. Jesse Ventura.
The bill will not become law until signed by the governor.
The Legislature passed a fourth consecutive tax cut and income tax rebate in the final 25 minutes of the legislative session. The session closed just seconds before the 7 a.m. deadline on May 10.
Checks to married students will average $377, while single students will receive about $187, according to the bill. The checks will be mailed late this summer. Some dependents might not receive the extra pocket change depending on their tax status.
“This is a $1.86 billion tax cut, and I think you should vote for it,” were Senate Taxes committee Chairman Doug Johnson, DFL-Tower, only words of encouragement before the Senate passed the bill 64 to 1.
The rebate and tax cut are included in a bill that also offers lower vehicle registration rates.
Beginning July 1, cars more than two years old will only cost $99 per year to register. Currently, registration can be up to $500 per year on new cars.
Minnesotans who own older cars will not benefit from the plan. And owners of brand new cars will pay the same registration fee they currently do, but the depreciation scale will be much steeper.
The tax cut and lower registration price will save Minnesotans about $1 billion next year, and $350 million each year afterward.
In other Capitol news:
ù Legislators passed a bill strengthening penalties for minors who use fake IDs to buy alcohol or cigarettes.
The bill, which the House defeated earlier in the session but that was revived in conference committee with the Senate, makes a second conviction for using a fake ID a gross misdemeanor.
Retailers are allowed to seize fake ID cards and hold them for 24 hours under the new bill. The cards would then be turned over to police.
In addition, the bill increased penalties for adults who purchase tobacco products for minors.
Erin Ghere welcomes comments at [email protected].