Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Two contribution checkoffs proposed

Published (4/29/2010)
By Lee Ann Schutz
Share on: 

Johnson Senior High School junior Arthur Nguyen, right, and Dan Kennedy, center, a guidance counselor at the St. Paul school, listen to Assistant Revenue Commissioner Beth Kadoun answer a question during an April 26 meeting of the House Taxes Committee. Nguyen and Kennedy worked together on a potential homeless checkoff to be added to state income tax forms. (Photo by Tom Olmscheid)Two bills that would provide donation checkoff boxes on the state’s income tax form, similar to the current Nongame Wildlife Fund contribution checkoff, were held over April 27 by the House Taxes Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion.

Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) sponsors HF3566, the “I’m Not Taxed Enough Already Checkoff,” which would provide taxpayers the chance to make a voluntary contribution of at least $1 to the General Fund. A companion, SF3197, sponsored by Sen. Amy Koch (R-Buffalo), awaits action by the Senate Taxes Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), HF3344 would also provide a minimum $1 checkoff opportunity with money equally split between grants for emergency shelter and services for the homeless and to Hunger Solutions, a nonprofit statewide association of food shelves.

Dan Kennedy, a school guidance counselor at Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul, and his students brought the idea to Lesch. Last summer they raised approximately $23,000 to help the state’s food shelves. Their experience raised their awareness to the number of homeless and the growing use of food shelves.

“A lot of people are hurting and the demand is increasing; this is a way for people to give,” said Arthur Nguyen, a junior at the school.

However, the request opened a conversation over whether tax returns should be used to raise money for causes.

“They (donations) are the right thing to do on a personal level, but from a state perspective, it does become an issue,” said Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington), chairwoman of the committee. She said the tax form is already full, and according to the Revenue Department, this would be cause for an additional form. She said the committee has historically discouraged checkoffs because “everyone has a cause” they think would merit a checkoff.

Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) said there is a cost to the state’s General Fund for administering the checkoff.

Kennedy said, “You may view it as, ‘This will open the flood gates,’ … but as legislators you can draw the line at the DNR and the food shelf. We’re asking you to draw the line here. It is a good bill, and I think you should vote yes.”

A companion, SF2688, sponsored by Sen. Ellen Anderson (DFL-St. Paul), has been included in the omnibus tax bill, SF3327, sponsored by Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook). It awaits action by the full Senate.

Session Weekly More...

Session Weekly Home

Related Stories

Revenue raiser raises none
Tax reprieve for flood victims
(view full story) Published 6/1/2010

Betting on TIF
Expanded use of development tool key component to ‘jobs’ new law
(view full story) Published 4/8/2010

Finding funding
Tax ‘jobs’ bill struggles its way to the House floor
(view full story) Published 3/25/2010

Targeting investment
Projects ready to go by July 1, 2011, could benefit from tax bill
(view full story) Published 3/18/2010

At Issue: Holding firm on funding positions
Historic deficit magnifies differences on how to pay for state services
(view full story) Published 5/29/2009

At Issue: Dealing with difficult reform
Tax bill squeaks by House floor, conferees begin work
(view full story) Published 5/1/2009

First Reading: Mustering courage and bold reform
‘Tough’ choices made in tax bill; new bracket created, some loopholes closed
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009

Minnesota Index: Taxes
Figures and statistics on taxes in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009

At Issue: Innovating property taxes
House division chair takes a stab at reform
(view full story) Published 4/3/2009

At Issue: Giving back local control
Counties could have option to impose sales tax
(view full story) Published 3/27/2009

First Reading: Making the state more progressive
Tax chairs take a stab at reform
(view full story) Published 3/20/2009

At Issue: Challenges ahead for taxpayers
Division seeks public’s input into property tax issues
(view full story) Published 1/9/2009