Disaster relief for the state of Minnesota, no tax relief

Sen. Sean Nienow, Cambridge
District 32

This week the legislature met back in St. Paul for a special session to address disaster relief in 18 counties that were hit by severe storms, high winds and flooding between June 20-26. Sean Nienow

Legislators joined together to support Minnesota communities harmed by the storms consistent with our historical tradition of helping cities and counties affected by natural disasters.

It is unfortunate that the legislature missed the opportunity to bring relief to farmers and small business owners affected by a “man-made disaster” — the problems caused by increased taxes enacted last session. These new taxes include the equipment repair tax, telecommunications equipment tax and warehousing tax. During negotiations, Democrat leaders and the Governor all agreed that there were harmful tax increases which should be repealed but despite that broad agreement they refused to agree reconsidering and repealing any of these three taxes during the Special Session.

I supported three bills during the special session to repeal the new warehousing, commercial equipment repair, and telecommunications tax increase. The equipment repair tax increases the cost for farmers, loggers, miners, and other hardworking Minnesotans to maintain and update the machines they use every day. The telecommunications tax will increase the cost for those in greater Minnesota from accessing high speed internet. Rural Minnesotan’s who currently have poor cell phone service are being told their service is not likely to get upgraded due to this tax.

These taxes, which could have been repealed with bipartisan support, are standing in the way of a healthier Minnesota economy by raising prices on everyday necessities purchased by hardworking Minnesotans. The Governor’s own fiscal analysts stated that 90 percent of these taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for milk, bread, and other food staples.

It was good to see the Legislature put together a disaster relief bill that made both made good sense and helped local needs. Unfortunately, the governor did not agree to provide relief to the Minnesota business owners and job creators hurt by disastrous tax increases. I will, however, continue to build coalitions of bipartisan support for solutions to the problems affecting our state and hardworking taxpayers.

If we work together, we can make government more efficient and effective. I am always open to new ideas and welcome input. Reach me during the interim at [email protected] or at 651-296-5419.