Special session should fix tax mistakes


Many constituents have asked me about several of the tax increases passed by the Democrats in the 2013 legislative session, including a controversial new tax on farm equipment repair costs that will hit some in our area with an unfair burden. While this was quickly passed without much public debate (along with a new warehousing tax) on the last day of session, Gov. Mark Dayton is now interested in revisiting and repealing the tax.
For farmers that incur huge costs to repair their equipment, the tax on farm equipment repair costs was confusing and unexpected. It is unfortunate how long it took the governor and DFL leaders to realize what a bad idea this was, considering the alarm we Republicans sounded at the end of session about this very tax.
Now, many of my colleagues and I are calling on the governor and House Democrats to repeal the damaging warehousing tax when we convene in St. Paul for a special legislative session. Citizens from around Minnesota have raised their voices to call for a repeal of this tax, including in our own area.
The Gift Tax changes passed this year have gone largely overlooked but have serious consequences for many residents of our area and all areas close to the Minnesota’s borders with other states. I’ve been contacted by many seniors who are concerned about what happens to their assets and property when they pass away, and the unfair amount they must pay to the state in gift taxes rather than leave for their surviving family members.
Last year, the federal government made changes to raise the exemption amounts for gifts after death and most states now either match those same federal rules, or have no gift tax at all. Instead, Minnesota’s leaders took us in the wrong direction and lowered the exemption amounts so that even modest amounts of property and assets will be subject to extraordinary taxation. Worse yet, the new law goes back on three years of activity and taxes that as well.
I authored a bill this session to bring Minnesota in line with the federal rules and save Minnesota’s economy from the serious consequences this new tax could have. One local senior wrote me a letter saying, “We simply cannot afford to die in Minnesota.”
While this tax is further rolled out and families begin planning financially for the death of loved ones under these new rules, I hope to be given the opportunity for a hearing on my bill to fix it.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in St. Paul.

Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, represents District 39A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.