Gov. Mark Dayton indicated in a speech at Farmfest on Thursday that he wants to utilize an upcoming special session to repeal a controversial tax on farm machinery repairs. In the 2013 legislative session, state lawmakers applied the sales tax to the labor cost of a farm machinery repair bill. Unless repealed, the tax is projected to raise $28 million for the 2014-2015 budget period.
Previously Dayton had stated that the special session, tentatively scheduled for September 9, would solely deal with appropriating money to pay for recovery efforts from storm damage in 18 counties.
House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, also indicated their support for adding repeal of the tax to the special-session agenda in a letter they sent Thursday to Senate Minority Leader David Hann and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt. “Farmers in many parts of the state are experiencing significant hardship due to last year’s drought, the extraordinarily long winter, and wet conditions that have limited crop planting and resulted in a shortage of forage,” Bakk and Thissen wrote. “We believe we can provide some relief by repealing the sales tax on farm equipment repair that went into effect on July.
In response, Daudt issued a statement arguing that the plan to repeal a tax increase that was just adopted during the 2013 legislative session is proof that Republicans were right in critiquing a DFL budget that included $2.1 billion in additional revenues. “Just one month after Democrats’ new taxes took effect, they are now admitting Republicans were right,” Daudt said. “We’ve stood alongside Minnesotans all along, telling Democratic lawmakers in St. Paul that hardworking taxpayers can’t afford to pay more.”