The Free Press, Mankato, MN


July 9, 2013

Special session not needed

Why it matters: Issues with the new warehouse tax can be discussed next year before the tax goes into effect

We’re glad, in a way, the Republican legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton continue to discuss, even spar, over Minnesota’s tax policies, but a recent call by the GOP for a special session goes too far.

At issue is the new warehouse-storage tax. Republicans raised the issue recently saying Red Wing Shoes was planning to hold off on a $20 million expansion, suggesting it was due to the tax, which is not scheduled to take effect until 2014.

Dayton responded that his commissioner of revenue Myron Franz has spoken to Red Wing and explained that storage of its own goods would not be taxed, but storage of another company’s goods would be.

That seemed to satisfy Red Wing for the moment.

The warehouse tax was arguably inserted into the tax bill at the waning moments of the Legislative session, in part to fill at $95 million gap in the state budget. It appears there was not a great deal of discussion and even some Democrats have criticized it.

But Dayton said Republicans did not offer an alternative to the tax or suggest a budget fix so their call for a special session was premature. He also argued that the tax does not take effect until April 2014 and the Legislature will have plenty of time to fix or change it in the session that starts in February.

The governor has the right response in this case, but we encourage the GOP to come up with a different plan or an alternative to be debated and discussed through the appropriate committees.

The warehouse tax may indeed need to be revisited. But it will serve the taxpayers best if it can be done in the regular session and not to spend more money meeting in a special session where there may or may not be positive results.

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