The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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July 10, 2013

DFL Legislature invested in state, supported business

Tax system became more fair

After reading Al DeKruif’s June 19 commentary in The Free Press, we had to wonder which Legislature he was following this year, because our Minnesota Legislature compiled a very pro-business record this past session.

Reflect on what the DFL inherited. For nearly a decade, Minnesota had structural, ongoing deficits in the billions. Time and again agreement could not be reached on the hard decisions necessary to put Minnesota on a path to stable budgets while property taxes on middle class Minnesotans continued to increase.

We made some hard choices. We fixed our tax system to make it fairer by creating a fourth tax bracket that will affect only the wealthiest 2.1 percent of taxpayers (taxable income for joint filers greater than $250,000 per year and only for the income above that amount).

This group currently pays a smaller percentage of their income in state and local taxes than low-and middle-income earners.

We provided $400 million in middle class property tax relief. We also eliminated corporate loopholes that allow corporations to shelter profits overseas.

DeKruif expressed concerns about the future of small businesses. The DFL Legislature shares those concerns.

That’s why we passed legislation that levels the playing field between Minnesota bricks and mortar retailers and online retailers, simplified taxpaying with an upfront exemption for capital equipment, improved the Angel Investor and Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and encouraged business growth in greater Minnesota by exempting some business expansion from sales tax.

And our jobs bill gives Minnesota employers its biggest tax cut in state history — $346 million — by reducing the rate employers pay to fund the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

We made serious investments in economic development — nearly $100 million. That includes $30 million for the Minnesota Investment Fund, a proven job creation tool.

Business needs talented and skilled workers to prosper. After years and years of cuts in funding to higher education, we increased funding by $250 million.

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