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Omnibus tax bill moves back to House and Senate floors

published 5/16/2011
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Missing the signature of its lone DFL member, Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington), the omnibus tax bill conference committee signed off on its compromise of HF42*/ SF27. The report is now ready for consideration on the House and Senate floors.

The agreement would provide $202.71 million in tax relief during the 2012-2013 fiscal biennium, including a statewide property tax reduction; an increase in the research and development credit; a phased-in income tax subtraction for those receiving military retirement pay; and several sales and use tax exemptions, including on downloadable ringtones.

The bill would also reduce tax credits (spending) over the biennium by $925.26 million. The greatest amount, totaling $198.95 million over the biennium, comes from reductions to the renters’ property tax refund, repeal of the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act and elimination of the political contribution refund.

Changes to the state’s local government aid and county program aid programs are targeted to save $382.74 million in the biennium.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Mark Dayton emphasized in a letter to House and Senate leadership his resolve to have additional tax revenue as part of a final resolution to the projected $5 billion biennial deficit. With the Republican majority’s position of no new revenue, the differences don’t appear to strain the willingness of the tax committee chairs and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans to seek a compromise.

“The tax committee will be the final arbiter (of the end of session negotiations). It’s going to come down to revenue,” Lenczewski said.

House Taxes Committee Chairman Greg Davids (R-Preston) said he has Frans’ number on speed-dial and said that the seven days remaining until the end of session “is a lifetime.”

Frans acknowledged the “wide differences” between the Republican’s position and the governor’s, but he pointed to the research and development credit as areas of agreement, and said that in the remaining days, he will continue to be available for further negotiation.

Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) is the Senate sponsor.

- Lee Ann Schutz

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