B2B Tax Repeals Off The Table During Special Session
Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders have agreed on a special session for September 9 but will only discuss state disaster relief—not business-to-business tax repeals, as some business leaders had hoped.
The session will deal solely with approving $4.5 million in Minnesota disaster aid for 18 southern and central counties hit by harsh storms in June.
Both Democrat and Republican leaders appear unsatisfied with the session's limitations.
Republican leaders had hoped the session would include a discussion on repealing the tax hike on warehouse services, while Dayton wanted to discuss repealing a portion of the farm equipment repair tax.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Dayton earlier this month asking to repeal the warehouse tax, the farm repair tax, and a third tax on purchases of telecommunication equipment.
“I’m personally disappointed that the repeal of the farm equipment repair tax is not part of the agreement,” Dayton said during a Tuesday press conference. “But I understand that Republican leaders wanted to either repeal at least the entire equipment repair tax, which would be about $152 million, or all of the three business-to-business taxes, which would be $314 million.”
“Once again, you get to the crux of the matter, how do you pay for that?” Dayton said. “I’d like to get rid of the taxes too, if there were no consequences in doing so, but there are.”
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce released the following statement regarding the limited special session agenda: “We’re extremely disappointed and now urge Governor Dayton and legislative leaders to commit today to address this bad tax policy during the first week of the 2014 Legislature.”
Dayton said the tax repeal issue is off the table until he sees the November budget forecast.
President Barack Obama signed a disaster relief declaration in July; however, according to the state, to get federal funds that would pay 75 percent of repair costs for damaged roads, bridges, buildings, and other public infrastructure, the state would need to commit 25 percent of its own money—which in this case comes out to $4.5 million.
The counties covered by the declaration are Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, and Wilkin. The severe storms and flooding occurred between June 20 and 26.
Dayton said Rock and Nobles counties were also added later in order to pay for damage from ice storms, which tacks on an additional $1 million.