New tax and spending laws kick in today

July 1 marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for the state of Minnesota, and that means the budget decisions state lawmakers made during the 2013 session take effect.

It’s the starting date for new spending on public schools, economic development programs and all other functions of state government. New tax laws, including the creation of a fourth-tier income tax rate, also take effect.

Here are some of the new law highlights, courtesy of the nonpartisan House Public Information Services:

Education

*K-12 education gets a $485 million boost over the next two years.

*Of that amount, $134 million will fund an all-day kindergarten option in every school district by 2014.

*the age of compulsory school attendance increases from 16 to 17, beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

*students will start seeing new reading, writing and math tests, while a high-stakes graduation exam goes away.

Employment and Economic Development

*A new $24 million job creation fund is established to help businesses make capital investments and create jobs.

*The Minnesota Film and TV Board gets $10 million to offer financial incentives.

*The establishment of three new foreign trade offices is authorized.

*A new 15-member trade policy advisory panel is established.

*A new Office of Broadband Development is created.

Energy

*A new state standard for solar energy requires large utilities to meet production goals by 2020.

Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

*$16 million is allocated to fighting the spread of invasive species

*county fairs will share $2 million for arts access and the promotion of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.

Health and Human Services

*Nursing homes will receive a 5 percent funding increase.

*The Department of Health will hire a director of child sex trafficking prevention.

*The $10,000 annual limit on hospitalization for MinnesotaCare enrollees is repealed.

Higher Education

*A funding increase of $250 million has resulted in a two-year tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU system.

*Some immigrants who lack lawful status will get to pay resident tuition rates and have access to state grants.

Taxes

*A new 9.85 percent tax rate will apply to taxable income above $250,000 for couples and $150,000 for single filers

*The taxes on a pack of cigarettes jumps from $1.23 to $2.83.

*The state sales tax will now apply to purchases of downloaded digital products such as books, music, videos and ringtones.

*The sales tax on car rentals increases from 6.2 percent to 9.2 percent.

*Large online retailers must now collect sales tax from their Minnesota affiliates.

*Pay-per-view movies on satellite TV are now subject to the sales tax.

*The labor costs for business-related equipment repairs, including electronics and machinery, are subject to sales tax.

Transportation

*All 87 counties now have the option of a $5 wheelage tax, with the the amount increasing to $10 in 2014 and $20 in 2018.

*The flat amount of motor vehicle sales tax charged for some older model collector vehicles increases from $90 to $150.

*Fees for new vehicle titles will increase in 2017 from $6.25 to $8.25, while a $5.50 title transfer fee is eliminated.

*The filing fee for a new or renewed driver’s license or state identification card increases from $5 to $8.