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Anticipating special session, Thompson drafting bill to repeal warehouse tax

The Lakeville senator and Republican candidate for governor foresees bipartisan support for repeal.

Sen. Dave Thompson

Dave Thompson, a state senator from Lakeville and a Republican gubernatorial candidate, is first out of the gate with legislation to repeal the new warehousing tax, should Gov. Dayton call a special legislative session to deal with disaster relief for counties hit by severe storms earlier this summer.

Dayton has been cool to calls to repeal the tax, but Thompson says he has asked Senate staff to draft the legislation, believing there will be DFL legislators who will join Republicans in the repeal effort.

“Obviously the most important thing, if there is a special session, is to deal with the issue of people who have been harmed and take care of the disaster issue,” Thompson said. “However, Rep. Ryan Winkler has opened the door for consideration of other issues [the state’s minimum wage] and there is no reason this could not be a bipartisan bill to get rid of the warehousing tax.”

A special legislative session is still in the early planning stages, but Dayton has indicated he would call one only if there were agreement to limit the scope of the session.

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“I do think there is bipartisan recognition that this warehousing tax is very damaging to employment and damaging to business in the border areas, in particular,” Thompson said.

In June, Republican lawmakers gathered a group a business owners to explain why they consider the tax harmful. Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, who heads the House Tax Committee, has said that she, too, opposes the tax but that its repeal would leave a hole in the budget.

The tax, which does not take effect until April 2014, would generate $13 million for the 2014 fiscal year and $82 million for the 2015 fiscal year. The Legislature would either be forced to find a new tax source or make budget cuts to make up for the revenue loss.