Minnesota Senate Republicans failed Monday to rush a $500 million tax relief package to a final floor vote.
“Minnesotans are working on their tax returns right now, and they deserve clear a clear answer from the legislature on tax reform," said Senate Minority Leader David, R- Eden Prairie. "The House was able to move quickly on this issue. Senate Republicans think it’s vitally important to citizens of the state that we do the same. There’s no reason to delay.”
DFL Senate leaders said they need time to hold public hearings on a plan the House overwhelmingly approved last week.
“This is a very large proposal,” said Assistant Senate Minority Leader Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport. The Senate “does want to have hearings and hear from the public on the components that will go into it.”
Hann said he suspects the Senate DFLers are intentionally holding up the tax proposal to keep it as a possible bargaining chip for other measures, like the proposed $90 million Senate office building and parking ramp.
The building issue must resolved “before we have movement on these other major things,” Hann said.
The Senate taxes committee “isn’t trying to hold anything up,” Sieben said. “They are moving ahead as quickly as possible, keeping in mind that there is a process in the Senate.”
The proposal includes tax breaks for middle-income Minnesotans and would repeal new business sales taxes on warehousing services and telecommunications equipment and repair, changes strongly supported by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.
Dayton has asked legislators to pass the tax breaks by Friday, giving revenue department officials’ time to implement the changes before Tax Day.
Some of the changes would be retroactive for the 2013 tax year, like the working family credit, student loan interest deduction and tax breaks for consumers who lost their home to foreclosure.
The Dayton administration is not looking to make the elimination of the so-called marriage penalty retroactive, saying that it would be too cumbersome and expensive to adjust tax returns for 650,000 tax filers at the last minute.
Sieben said that legislators will probably not meet Dayton’s deadline, but the tax relief could get final passage soon after.