The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 17, 2014

Deadline nears for tax relief plan without a deal


Another big question is whether businesses subject to new sales taxes on heavy machinery repair and telecommunications equipment will see an about-face from the Legislature. The Legislature imposed those taxes last spring, and a warehousing services tax is supposed to kick in April 1. But lawmakers widely want to stop the warehousing tax for fear of driving those businesses across the Wisconsin and Iowa borders.

In addition to putting the brakes on the warehousing tax, the House version would offer refunds to businesses that have already paid the other taxes. But Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, said he isn't convinced refunds are the way to go.

Skoe said his bill is also likely to revise estate and gift taxes applied to people who transfer significant amounts or inheritances. Dayton has also called for action on that front.

House Tax Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski said the gift and estate tax matters are complicated issues that need carefully crafted solutions. She said those discussions can wait until later in the session so the breaks for the middle-class and businesses don't get held up.

"These two things are time-sensitive," said Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington. "Everything else is not."

Republican Senate Minority Leader David Hann of Eden Prairie said with each passing day the tax relief is losing its potency as people file their taxes.

"Some people are going to forget about it or they're just going to say it's too much effort to go back and amend my tax return at this point," Hann said. "The sooner we can do this, the better."

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