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House GOP proposes doubling estate-tax minimum

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Minnesota House of Representatives

Is Minnesota finally relenting in its war on job creators? Maybe, if House Republicans’ tax proposal carries through. MPR’s Tim Pugmire relates the GOP proposal: “In their $2 billion package of tax cuts, Republicans who control the Minnesota House would more than double the amount of money Minnesotans would have to amass before their estates are subject to taxes. … The House tax bill would raise the threshold to $2 million this year. It also would make additional annual adjustments so that by 2018 the tax would only affect estates of $5 million or more. Future increases would be tied to inflation. Also in 2018, a flat rate of 16 percent would take effect.” The proposal might face a rough time in the DFL-controlled Senate, though, shockingly, Edina’s DFL representative and senator back the move. For more background on Minnesota’s estate tax, read Briana Bierschbach’s March MinnPost report: “Why lawmakers from both parties want to change Minnesota’s estate tax.”

Building inspections? Nah — what’s the worst that could happen? Also at MPR, Riham Feshir uses the occassion of the collapse of the roof at the Thumper Pond Resort water park on Ottertail, Minnesota to highlight the fact thatMany Minnesota governments outside the seven-county metro area don’t enforce the State Building Code. It’s the one law that requires inspections throughout a new construction process. … But just 21 of the 87 Minnesota counties enforce it, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. … Ottertail City Clerk Elaine Hanson said it’s too soon to respond to the waterpark roof collapse by discussing the possibility of adopting the State Building Code. She said the city, with a population of fewer than 600, never had a need for it.

Former Minnesota senator and current conservative moneyman Norm Coleman channeled his inner Chicken Little to write an op-ed for the Star Tribune warning, on the basis of 4 recent arrests of Minneapolis men suspected of wanting to join ISIS, “…about our potential status as the Land of 10,000 Terrorists.” So what does Coleman recommend, other than the de rigeur less-political-correctness? “It’s time the governor and the Legislature brought all of Minnesota into the conversation…” That ought to do it. 

Is the State of Hockey thing is actually happening? Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Nick Halter looks at the NHL’s report on television ratings and attendance and finds: “The Wild were, by most measures, in the top tier of NHL teams for TV ratings and attendance, according to data obtained by the Sports Business Journal, a sister publication to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. … Fox Sports North reported a 4.2 average household rating at the end of the regular season. That was an increase of 41 percent over the previous season and catapulted the team to the fifth-highest of NHL teams outside of Canada.”

In other news…

There’s a lot of debate about how best to educate our students, but at least we can all agree on one tried and true method: constantly fixating on what they are wearing. “Dress code stirs controversy at Harbor City International School” [Duluth News Tribune]

It just got real: Wyoming, Minnesota is suing makers of “so-called flushable wipes” that are clogging the city’s sewer system. [Star Tribune]

A Fargo politician is deeply involved in the controversial Detroit Lakes hotel development, where the DNR is threatening to sue the city of Detroit Lakes if they approve the building plan. [Inforum]

St. Cloud may build a $25 million aquatics center. [Saint Cloud Times]

Food trucks are coming to Brainerd! “Brainerd City Council: Food truck ordinance passes” [Brainerd Dispatch]

Minneapolis gets its first tool libraryThe Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library

A Sartell man is keeping the milk man business alive. [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Calling all budding Von Trapps: “Ordway holds ‘Sound of Music’ casting call” [Pioneer Press]

Gardy got himself an agent. [NBC Sports]

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/24/2015 - 04:35 pm.

    Double the sensation?

    $5 million is where the Federal estate tax takes effect. The 16% flat rate is the top rate currently in effect.

    There are valid reasons for conforming state law to federal law in this area, particularly in an era in which so many are house rich and cash poor.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/24/2015 - 05:13 pm.


      Are you trying to tell me that there are people who own $3M homes, but are “cash poor”?

      That’s a pretty good problem to have. Just a thought, they could put the old homestead on the market and start slumming it in a $1M home.

      Wonder what the monthly payment is on a $3M home? I’ll bet it makes it hard to make the payments on the his ‘n hers Audi’s in the driveway.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/24/2015 - 10:20 pm.

        The family farms

        are not “homes” and could easily be worth 5 million in land value.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/25/2015 - 01:25 pm.

          At last count

          there were two family farms in the United States of that value.
          These days most acreage is owned by large corporations.

      • Submitted by Richard Callahan on 04/25/2015 - 11:54 am.

        I don’t know about homes, but one could easily have a $3 million dollar car wash and no cash. it’s all in the land and physical assets that have appreciated over the years, and maybe it doesn’t generate that much income. Is it fair to force the children who inherit such a business to sell it to pay the inheritance tax? What purpose does it serve? We’re not talking about concentration of wealth here.

  2. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 04/24/2015 - 06:10 pm.

    True conservatives…..

    do not consider Norm Coleman to be one of them. Minnesoootans consider him to be conservative because he was just to the right of the DFL.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/24/2015 - 07:28 pm.

    Considering the Common “Conservative” Alligator Tears

    for “small businesses” and “farmers” who are hurt by the estate tax,…

    it may be useful to remember that for federal purposes a “small business” may have as many as 500 employees and, in some areas may have as many as 1500.

    We’re not talking about mom and pop’s gas station or small town main street hardware store, here, folks!

    I’ve never heard an actual figure for how many family owned and operated Minnesota farms fall under the estate tax, but I suspect there are very, very few.

    The fact is that most folk who have accumulated fortunes that would fall under the estate tax have accomplished their wealth by inheriting it,…

    and/or through investments which, unlike the REAL mom and pop entrepreneurs out there, and the folk who work for wage or salary, are taxed as capital gains,…

    and thus at a FAR LOWER interest rate than regular folk who earn a salary or work for themselves on their own farms.

    Our “conservative” friends like to claim that the money which would be affected by the estate tax has already been taxed, but the fact is, as compared to the tax rates paid by the rest of us, MOST of it has actually been taxed very little.

    One of the things the founders of this nation worried about was the creation of a wealthy aristocracy who would, over many generations, come to dominate the government of our nation by virtue of the power that their vast wealth afforded them,…

    much as they were familiar with in Europe.

    The estate tax helps prevent that corrosive reality from destroying our nation and turning it into an oligarchy,…

    an oligarchy which, thanks to the “Citizens United” ruling, we move closer and closer to with each election.

    • Submitted by Richard Callahan on 04/25/2015 - 11:49 am.

      I’ve read that the number of farms and “mom and pop” business that fall within the federal estate tax of 5 million is very small, but I suspect a large number fall within Minnesota’s 1.5 million.

      It wouldn’t be that hard these days for a farm, car wash, or restaurant to be valued over $1.5 million after years of real estate appreciation. People inheriting these business are very possibly cash poor and it doesn’t server society much to force them to sell assets to pay taxes.

      If the point of an estate tax is to prevent the accumulation and concentration of wealth then I’d think adopting the higher Federal limits would serve adequately without unnecessarily punishing smaller inheritances.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/26/2015 - 08:35 am.

        Is there any particular value

        In shielding these heirs from the rigors of competition? You are saying in essence, that since one generation of a family was successful in creating a business, it should therefore be expected that any person in the next generation wishing to achieve success by competing with that business should automatically be hamstrung by the built in advantages the heirs of said business enjoy. Kinda throws the whole “equality of opportunity” argument out the window don’t you think?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/26/2015 - 08:40 am.


        I think any business assets that are not sold or transferred prior to the death of the proprietor, (including copyrights, patents, and such) should expire when they do. Don’t want to tax it, fine, but the heirs should then have to start at the same point as everyone else.

  4. Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 04/25/2015 - 11:02 am.

    True Scotsmen

    Wear kilts. Norm’s been wearing one for years.

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/25/2015 - 12:06 pm.

    I believe

    Mr. Kapphahn has nailed this one.

  6. Submitted by Mike Seim on 04/26/2015 - 09:47 am.

    Detroit Lakes

    For comparison, the DNR being against this 4 story hotel would be like them opposing anything across Lake Street from Lake Calhoun. Not to mention there’s been hotels, etc here for over a century

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