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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nathan Nelson (R)

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Friday, March 18, 2022

There is plenty of disappointment among store owners and most other Main Street business owners these days as they will soon feel the impacts of an unnecessary, and massive, tax increase.


Even though Minnesota has more than $10 billion sitting in the state’s coffers and the problem has been known about for months, House Democrats – the party in charge of the Minnesota House - refused to hear any legislation on the House floor that would stop a local employer tax increase of 15% or more from being implemented. The deadline to prevent these unnecessary tax increases was March 15.


A debt of more than $1 billion in Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is what brought the issue forward. The default method to eliminate the UI debt is tax increases on statewide employers unless the legislature agrees to make the payment in a different way. In this case, Minnesota has two pots of money available: a $9.3 billion budget surplus and more than $1 billion in unallocated COVID relief funding.


To their credit, the Minnesota Senate – on a strong bipartisan basis – approved legislation that would have eliminated this unneeded tax increase on job providers. Not only did the House Democrat majority refuse to debate that bill, but it also failed to bring up a solution of its own before the March 15 deadline.


House Republicans also attempted to get things moving. On two occasions, we tried to bring bills forward that would have prevented these tax increases. In both cases, House Democrats blocked them from debate.


During a recent committee hearing, Governor Walz’s own employment commissioner even stated that a failure to approve legislation that eliminated the tax increases would “create major problems.”


Well, those major problems have now begun because the House majority refused to address this issue. Considering all the struggles our business owners have faced throughout the pandemic, forcing them to now take part in a political game is truly sad.