We made real progress this week. The governor has signed another 20 or more bills we passed this session. That included the supplemental budget bill which provides $35 million for rural broadband, aid for the Mille Lacs Lake area and relief on military pensions from state income taxes. I publicly thank the governor for signing this important legislation into law.
There is one major bill the governor has not yet signed, the tax reform bill which passed the Senate (55-12) and House (123-10), obviously with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.
The governor has until Monday to sign that bill or he will exercise a pocket veto. As of this morning the governor is still indicating he will likely pocket veto the bill over a simple language error; an "and" appears where there should be an "or" in a provision related to charitable gambling at bingo halls.
The issue is a “fine print error” which could result in reducing the charitable gambling proceeds that go to paying for the Viking’s new stadium.
The legislative leadership has formerly assured the governor that was not the intent of the legislation, and the error is a simple drafting error. They have also pointed out that this type of error has occurred in the past and is normally remedied by a letter clarifying legislative intent. That clarification has already been provided to the governor.
I have again contacted the governor’s office urging him to sign the tax bill and not exercise a pocket veto. Should he veto this bill it mean killing important tax reforms that benefit working families with young children, small businesses, veterans, college graduates, farmers and local governments.
Please click here for a list of highlights in the bill. Just one example is a $150 million expansion of the working family tax credit, which reduces the tax burden for an estimated 386,000 low- and middle-income families. There is also $146 million in tax relief for our small business by reducing the amount of the state general property tax.
I urge you to call the governor's office at 800-657-3717, encourage him to sign the bill and not pocket veto this bill over a minor technical glitch that is easily remedied.