During the pandemic, small businesses, local neighborhood stores and many restaurants struggled to stay afloat.
Supply chain issues, higher gas prices and overall health precautions stunted economic growth and created new barriers for those running a business. Restaurants especially lost significant revenue, having closed their dining rooms and forced into finding creative ways to stay afloat.
Fortunately, we now find ourselves in a time of rebuilding and recovering. Yet, some Minnesota legislators seem focused on slowing recovery efforts by supporting HF 580, an unnecessary regressive tax on Minnesotans that will hurt those who can least afford it.
This proposed delivery fee mandated on nearly every Minnesota consumer undoes any progress made post pandemic, and will negatively impact everyone involved. As the state looks for thoughtful solutions to solve transportation challenges, the proposed fee will enable more harm than good. HF 580 proposes an unprecedented tax of $.75 on every delivery made to the residents of Minnesota. With the state’s $18 billion budget surplus, there is no justification of an additional tax on virtually all deliveries. Additionally, that cost and some will be passed on to Minnesota consumers who need every dollar possible to raise their families.
This tax will affect not only restaurants, but every Minnesotan that relies on deliveries. Nearly half of Americans rely daily on delivery services. Busy families, elderly, and the disabled rely on delivery services daily to maintain their livelihoods and access essential everyday items. They depend on food, household items and personal care items to be delivered to their homes, and this proposed tax would only add another burden. The effects of HF 580 goes further than many realize, and in the end does not provide any benefits, costing households more money for things they need to survive.
The significant impact of businesses that is promised through this tax will also be detrimental to their recovery. As it is, having the retailer responsible to collect the fee, the bill does not account for the intricacies required for a retailer to build a system to track, collect and remit the fees. Many businesses do not have the means to uphold this tax, creating additional hardships to the ones they are facing. Restaurants and businesses alike will need to invest in resources to comply with the fee, where many do not have the means to do so.
And let’s not forget the delivery drivers who will also be negatively affected. By discouraging delivery with regressive tax rates, there will be less demand and less opportunities for delivery drivers to supplement their income.
Just say no to this new proposed tax and yes to keeping Minnesota businesses and consumers on the path to economic growth.
Hollies Winston is the mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.