Special session should address government-caused disasters, too


Recently, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that he will call a special session of the legislature this month to address disaster relief caused by the storms in June. While I am proud to come together in a bipartisan way to help storm victims, I’m disappointed that we won’t address the government-caused disaster Democrats and Dayton imposed on the state during the 2013 legislative session.

Shortly after the legislative session, many of my Republican colleagues pressed for the governor to call a special session to eliminate the warehousing tax included in the final version of the Democrats’ tax bill. Dayton responded that he supported repealing the warehousing tax, but that we should wait until the 2014 legislative session to address it since the tax does not go into effect until next April.

Meanwhile, small businesses from across the state — from Red Wing to Minneapolis to Dayton — have said this tax has put their economic activity on hold and openly talk about moving to another state.

Yet when Dayton arrived at Farm Fest a few weeks ago, he told farmers 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 unaware that the farm equipment repair tax was included in the final tax bill. Never mind the fact that it was clear to House members from an exchange on the House floor that the farm equipment repair tax was part of the bill.

Nevertheless, a bipartisan chorus has begun singing on repealing many of the taxes Democrats imposed during the 2013 legislative session. For example, former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a prominent Minnesota Democrat, called for repealing the tax on telecommunications enacted last session.

Yet, despite the broad bipartisan support to repeal these harmful tax mistakes, Dayton and Democratic leaders refused during negotiations to compromise to get the job done during special session. Republican leaders offered three opportunities for Democrats to fix their mistakes from last session and Democrats said no. Our proposal pushed for the full repeal of the equipment repair tax, telecommunications tax and the warehousing tax, but Democrats could not even commit to repeal one. Democrats wouldn’t compromise and stood in the way of doing what’s right for hard-working taxpayers.

If one job leaves Minnesota due to the policies passed by this legislature, it will be one too many. This session of historic tax increases has already been too costly for our families and small businesses. As a border community, we know firsthand how simple it would be to move to Wisconsin. We must act now to fix the Democrat-caused disasters to prevent families and businesses from leaving our state.

Rep. Kathy Lohmer represents Minnesota House District 39B. Contact her at 6651-296-4244 or at rep.k[email protected]