Senate Democrats plan ‘aggressive’ work on tax cuts next week

MinnPost file photo by James Nord
Senate Taxes Chairman Rod Skoe said Friday that his committee plans to review a slew of tax-related proposals early next week with hopes of passing a final bill by the end of the week.

Democrats in the state Senate say they will push an “aggressive” tax agenda next week to try to meet Gov. Mark Dayton’s March 19 deadline, but senators may not go as far as their DFL House counterparts want. 

Senate Taxes Chairman Rod Skoe said Friday that his committee plans to review a slew of tax-related proposals early next week with hopes of passing a final bill by the end of the week.

House Democrats have already passed a $500 million proposal that repeals last session’s three business-to-business taxes. The measure also conforms federal and state taxes, among other things.

Dayton and the House have pushed the tax changes with urgency to try to avoid complications for Minnesotans filing their taxes this year.

But Skoe wouldn’t commit to including the business-to-business tax cuts in next week’s work. The House opted to repeal three sales taxes applied to businesses last year, including farm and telecommunication equipment repair and warehousing services. The warehousing tax doesn’t kick in until April 1.

“We will work through the issues we feel are important to include in the tax proposal,” Skoe said, adding that there might be ways to “make improvements” on what the House passed. That could include ways to “reduce the cost” of the total package, but Skoe wouldn’t go into detail.

“The Senate has been reluctant to go quite as far as the House and the governor in regards to some of the sales tax reductions,” Skoe said, noting that property tax reductions were of more interest to senators. “I’m hesitant to draw lines in the sand.”

Dayton stepped up the pressure on senators this week in a conference call, saying it “will be serious” if the Senate doesn’t pass some kind of federal tax conformity by March 19 or a few days after.  Dayton said there’s still $57 million on the line for Minnesotans filing their taxes yet this year.

“Our priority is to get the work done as soon as we can,” Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Hayden said, “but move at a pace that makes senators feel comfortable.”

House Speaker Paul Thissen said he will be “happy to get a tax bill done next week” but acknowledged that he doesn’t know what senators will include in their bill. 

As of Friday morning, the Senate Taxes Committee’s agenda included federal tax conformity and a small-business investment income tax credit for Greater Minnesota, minorities and female business owners.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by jody rooney on 03/16/2014 - 11:40 pm.

    Tax conformity with the feds doesn’t

    that sound like “If all your friends jumped of the cliff would you?”

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