For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
On Monday, the legislature convened for a special session to provide $4.7 million in disaster relief for the victims of the June storms. I’m pleased that we were able to come together in a bipartisan way to help those who were adversely affected by the storm. Communities in Hennepin County will receive about $2 million. Those dollars will be spent on unfunded debris cleanup as well as infrastructure repairs and upgrades not budgeted for by local government units.
While I’m satisfied that the natural disaster was addressed, I remain disappointed that the special session didn’t address the man-caused disasters imposed upon Minnesota by the 2013 legislative session. Although Governor Dayton initially stated he wanted the scope of the special session to be limited to disaster relief for the counties affected by the June storms, he later opened the door to adding more items to the special session agenda. When the governor arrived at Farm Fest in August, he told farmers he supported repealing the farm equipment repair tax during special session.
What I find puzzling is that Governor Dayton claimed that he and his staff were unaware that the farm equipment repair tax was part of the finalized tax bill. It was abundantly clear to those of us on the House floor that particular provision was part of the Democrats’ tax bill!
The farm equipment repair tax is one piece of a larger tax on equipment repair that was included in the final version of the tax bill in the last hours of the session. Unfortunately, it is just one of a multitude of egregious tax increases that emerged as a result of the past legislative session. Since the end of the session, I’ve heard from countless small business owners – including some of you – asking that we repeal the three business-to-business taxes put into place by Governor Dayton and the Democrat-controlled legislature. These taxes affect labor costs for repair and maintenance of equipment, the purchase of telecommunications equipment, and a warehousing and storage tax to take effect in April 2014.
The calls to repeal these taxes aren’t just coming from Republicans, either. Former DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, called for repeal of the sales tax on telecommunications equipment. Even Governor Dayton in early August stated he supported repealing the warehousing tax. However, he wants to wait until next legislative session – which begins February 25 of 2014 – to begin addressing it. That will allow the legislature only 35 days to address a tax that has already caused small business everywhere from Red Wing to Minneapolis to Dayton to halt economic activity in Minnesota and to consider moving to another state.
When it came time to negotiate the terms of the special session, Governor Dayton and the Democrat legislative leaders refused to agree to repeal any of the three business-to-business taxes – even in the face of overwhelming support from people on both sides of the political aisle to repeal them. House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt offered three opportunities to Democrats to fix their mistakes from last session and the Democrats said “no” to each. The proposal put forward by Representative Daudt called for full repeal of the equipment repair tax, telecommunications tax and the warehousing tax, but Democrats could not even commit to repeal one. Nevertheless, Republicans remain laser-focused on repealing each of these taxes and introduced bills – to which I signed on as co-author – on Monday to do just that.
Hardworking families have the most to lose because of these colossal new tax increases. With small businesses openly talking about leaving Minnesota, it’s truly a shame we didn’t act during the special session to prevent a single job from leaving the state due to the excessive tax and spend policies passed by this legislature. The 2013 legislative session has already proven too costly for our state’s families and small businesses. The hardworking taxpayers of our community – and across the state – deserve better.
You can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-4315. Mail can be sent to Rep. Cindy Pugh, 313 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.
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