Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton won’t hold a special session, killing a property tax relief bill in the process.
The Special Session, and Tax Relief Bill, are Dead in The Water
The tax relief bill many small
businesses were hoping would pass is officially off the table. On Aug. 18,
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he would not hold a special session this year.
This decision occurred because Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree on
Dayton’s $2 billion Southwest Light Rail project. The Republicans refused to agree to a special session if it
included money for the project, and the Democrats refused to a special session
The loss of the special session
means the loss of a tax bill that included a reduction aimed at lower valued business properties of $100,000 or less, they would receive a 20 to 30 percent reduction! All other higher valued business properties would receive a tax cut ranging from $700-$900 based on a sampling of property tax statements by NFIB. It also included a 40
percent reduction for farmers on the amount of property taxes they pay that are
currently attributable to school levies for bonded debt.
“It is extremely disappointing
that a governor would put a priority as controversial as that ahead of
significant tax relief and funding for roads and bridges that were contained in
the bonding bill that passed the legislature with wide margins of support,”
says NFIB/Minnesota State Director Mike Hickey. “Gov. Dayton is holding
these two important bills hostage for the Southwest Light Rail project, despite
the fact it is subject to a significant federal litigation and may not go
forward on its current planned route, regardless what the state does.”
However, there’s still hope. A
surplus is expected to remain over the next two years, providing the
possibility for a tax relief bill to eventually be passed. Dayton plans to meet
with the Metropolitan Council chair to discuss options for light rail funding. He said
he also plans to incorporate tax and construction measures for 2017, as well as
similar tax and separate transportation funding bills.