I wanted to give you an update on what’s happening with the upcoming special session.
Shortly after the legislative session concluded, many of my Republican colleagues pressed Governor Dayton to call for a special session of the legislature to repeal the warehousing tax. The warehousing tax was a late addition to the tax bill passed by Democrats this session. Governor Dayton responded that he supported repealing the warehousing tax, but wants to wait until the 2014 legislative session to address it since the tax doesn’t kick in until next April.
Governor Dayton also said he wanted to limit the scope of the special session to disaster relief only for the victims of the June storm. Then, when Governor Dayton arrived at Farm Fest a few weeks ago, he announced that he supported creating a special exemption to remove farm equipment repair from the new equipment repair tax as part of the special session agenda. The governor also claimed that he and his staff were completely unaware that provision was in the Democrats’ tax bill. I find that assertion to be quite odd given the fact it was made very clear on the House floor that this tax was part of the final tax bill.
Yet, the farm equipment repair tax is just one of several bad tax increases that Democrats imposed last session. Countless small business owners have contacted me asking that the legislature repeal all three business-to-business taxes enacted by Democrat legislators and Governor Dayton. These taxes would affect labor costs for repair and maintenance of equipment, the purchase of telecommunications equipment, and a warehousing and storage tax to take effect in April 2014.
The call to repeal these taxes isn’t just coming from Republicans. Former Democrat House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher called for repeal of the sales on telecommunications equipment. Instead of waiting until the next regular legislative session in late February to address these taxes, we need to act now. Our small businesses and the hard-working people they employ simply can’t wait that long. Businesses need certainty and if the warehouse tax goes into effect the first of April 2014, and regular session starts February 25th, it does not give enough time to repeal the tax and for businesses to react. From Red Wing to Minneapolis to Dayton, small businesses from around our state have stated these taxes are putting their economic activity on hold and talk openly about locating in another state.
Even though we have broad bipartisan support to repeal these damages tax increases, Governor Dayton and Democrat legislative leaders refused to compromise to get the job done during special session. House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt offered three opportunities for Democrats to fix their mistakes from the 2013 session. Democrats said no at each opportunity. Our proposal was to fully repeal the equipment repair tax, telecommunications tax and the warehousing tax but Democrats could not even commit to repeal one. Instead of doing what’s right for the hardworking taxpayers of Minnesota, Democrats refused to compromise.
The $2.1 billion in historic tax increases enacted by Governor Dayton and Democrat legislators have already been too costly for our families and small businesses. Waiting until the 2014 legislative session with no guarantee that any of these tax increases will be repealed does nothing to provide certainty to our families and businesses adversely affected by these taxes. While I’m happy to come together in a bipartisan way to make sure the victims of the June storm receive the assistance they need, I’m disappointed we’re missing an opportunity to fix the man-caused economic disaster Democrats created last session
As always, you can still contact me by e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-5063. I would gladly tour your business and learn directly from you how these changes will be affecting your business.