A Minnesota Supreme Court ruling issued this week sided with multiple counties that State Auditor Rebecca Otto sued over the constitutionality of allowing all counties the choice of contracting with a private accounting firm to conduct their required annual audit. Previously only a select group of primarily metro counties were allowed that opportunity.
Gov. Dayton signed the bipartisan legislation into law in 2015. State Auditor Otto then filed suit against several of the counties to first exercise their option to contract with a qualified certified public accounting firm.
It’s unfortunate that the state auditor’s action has resulted in several counties having to expend local taxpayer dollars to defend their right to do what most of the larger metro counties have been able to do for years, but at least the matter is now settled.
The House continues to work on a tax reconciliation bill to deal with the sweeping federal tax changes enacted this past December. The House’s approach is to hold as many Minnesotans as possible harmless as we deal with those federal changes. We are also committed to protecting last year’s tax reforms that helped our seniors on social security and reduced the state general tax on our small businesses.
The governor’s approach is beginning to come into focus and is not as it was initially described as revenue-neutral. The Department of Revenue released a report this week showing the governor’s approach including his supplemental budget proposal would raise taxes on Minnesotans across the board, with households making less than $32,000 being hit hardest.
Over the next few weeks you will hear a lot about what needs to be done. I am committed to not using the requirement to adjust state tax code to appropriately conform to the new federal code as an excuse to increase taxes on our citizens.
We continue to work on rationalizing the 45-year-old obsolete wild rice sulfate standard. The chief administrative law judge recently in issued a scathing rejection of MPCA’s most recent attempt to update the standard. The 16 page order explains in detail the issues that has caused the legislature to provide clear guidance to MPCA.
Recently various news articles have attacked the Legislature’s effort in this area. Please take the time to compare what Chief Administrative Law Judge Tammy Pust has to say on the subject.