ST. PAUL – State Rep. Matt Bliss, R-Pennington, said he opposes the basic premise of an omnibus tax bill the House majority approved on Thursday because it raises taxes by more than $1 billion amid a historic state surplus.
“After the year we’ve been through, our state should be pulling out all the stops to help businesses and families that have lost income during the pandemic get back on track,” Bliss said. “The last thing we should be doing is adding to the people’s burden, yet that’s exactly what this bill does. The fact the House majority didn’t even provide full support for its own bill and it scraped by with the absolute bare-minimum votes, 68-66, says a lot in itself.”
Bliss said the tax package would create a new income tax tier and give Minnesota the second-highest income tax rate in the country, directly impacting many workers that have been hit hard during the pandemic.
In addition, Bliss said some business owners would suffer from a cap placed on emergency Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans they received from the federal government to help pay for employee wages or rent. Congress made these loans free from federal taxation, but not all Minnesota business owners would see the same forgiveness under the House Democrat bill.
“It would be a disgrace for our state government to profit off the hardships experienced by our businesses,” Bliss said. “The federal government sent these businesses a lifeline to stay afloat and now the majority wants to get its hands on some of that money, even though the state has billions of dollars in surplus revenue. These businesses are run by our friends and neighbors on Main Street, not the big-box stores.”
The bill (H.F. 991) is now headed to a conference committee that will work to iron out differences between House and Senate tax proposals.
“I am optimistic this bill will come back to the House for final approval in better shape than it left,” Bliss said. “We owe it to Minnesotans to aid in their financial recovery instead of adding to their burden. Between this bill and the majority’s transportation bill that raises taxes by another $1.6 billion, I really hope the House majority re-thinks its position on taxes in the next few weeks so we can approve a new state budget that helps people in our state and is worthy of bipartisan support.”