Dakota County 4-H'ers have been slinging slices of pie and mixing malts at the county fair for more than a half century.
This year, they're hoping those treats come with a tax break.
It's not a lot of money, about $1,400 in the Dakota County club's case. But a measure prompted by the local 4-H club could cost the state about $300,000 in lost sales tax revenue.
State law allows a nonprofit to lease a location for fundraising and get away sales-tax free if the event lasts five days or less. But, luckily for malt lovers, Dakota County 4-H stays at the fair for more than a week.
Rep. Anna Wills, R-Apple Valley, is trying to help the club by extending the sales tax break to 10 days. She heard about the group's plight from a father of a 4-H'er in her district.
"They were looking at how much can they actually keep to reinvest in their programs," Wills said. "When so much of it goes to pay taxes, it makes it harder for them to do all these different activities."
It's not just Dakota County where nonprofits find themselves in a tax bind, former 4-H members told the House Taxes Committee on Tuesday. There are 11 fairs across the state that run for longer than five days, Wills said.
"We are looking for this change because it would be clearly advantageous to our organization, but there are a number of organizations across the state that would benefit," said Bruce Adams, of Burnsville, a former 4-H'er and the Dakota County club's finance director.
In Dakota County, profits from those pies and malts keep 4-H running all year. The additional funds would help the group provide stipends and scholarships for children to attend camps and events, Adams said.
"It's a very good return on investment," he said, adding that the group will still chip in to the state because it typically makes more than the $20,000 limit for the sales tax exemption.
After Wills, Adams and others made their case Tuesday, Taxes Committee Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, asked if there was anyone who wanted to testify against 4-H.
The response? Laughter.
The bill was held for possible inclusion in an omnibus tax bill.