The details are in place for a Sept. 9 special session, which will take place so the Legislature can appropriate disaster relief funding for counties in western, central and southern Minnesota.
The relief funding will be used to rebuild damaged infrastructure and aid cleanup efforts after 18 counties suffered storm damage. The damage total is estimated to be $18 million. The state will pay 25 percent and receive a 75-percent match from the federal government. Our state's commitment will come from various pots of money in state agencies.
Storm relief will be the only item on the agenda, although many of us in the minority had hoped we also could fix some tax “mistakes” Gov. Dayton and fellow Democrats added to the tax bill with little notice and no hearings in the last days of the session. There are three in particular that warrant repeal due to costly, unintended consequences. They pertain to new sales taxes on warehousing, telecommunications and equipment repair (including farm machinery) industries.
In the case of the warehousing and storage industry which employs thousands, Minnesota would be the only state with such a sales tax forcing many customers to consider storage and distribution services outside of Minnesota.
All three of those new taxes now have bipartisan support to be eliminated. The governor himself said he was open to addressing at least the farm repair tax during the special session and called this tax a “very bad mistake” during a recent agriculture event. In the end, the repeal was scuttled because Dayton and other Democrats have not decided how to handle the resulting loss in revenue of some $100+million. I believe there is enough wasteful state spending that a solution should have been within reach.
I am pleased we will be able to provide disaster relief; however, tax work is also critical for those businesses suffering the consequences for “mistakes” and overreach on taxes by the Governor and majority Democrats.
I invite you all to visit the House of Representatives booth at the Minnesota State Fair this weekend. There are some interesting new features at the booth this year, including a replica of the speaker’s setting in the House Chamber. The set is complete with a desk, flags, gavel and iconic Abraham Lincoln portrait.
The House’s annual survey also is available, allowing Minnesotans to weigh in on a wide variety of issues. The House of Representatives exhibit is in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street, just north of Dan Patch Avenue.
Recent reports from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development indicate Minnesota added 4,300 jobs in July, yet the state unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 5.2 percent. The national unemployment rate remained 7.4 percent that month.
Interestingly, DEED adjusted the June jobs report from 400 jobs gained to 1,000 jobs lost. This negative turn comes after we gained 55,000 new jobs in the preceding year, with 60,000 Minnesotans taking a risk and starting their own business.
Enjoy the last few days of summer!