Republican Marty Seifert has been saying for months that Minnesota has a “jobs problem” and that he’s set to release a jobs package to spur economic growth. At forums and on his website, the candidate for governor discusses how fees and permits are hindering business creation and expansion in Minnesota. One example he uses is the license fee that the state charges liquor distilleries:
“We had a guy in Windom who wanted to open up a distillery business. The distillery license fee in Minnesota is $30,000. Thirty thousand dollars to open up a distillery. In 42 minutes to the south of Windom is the state of Iowa, it costs $350. Where do you think he took his business? Where do you think he took his jobs? He went to Iowa. We now know that there are three businesses like his in Iowa and one in Wisconsin. Those are jobs that we should have here.”
Seifert voted to double the distillery fee in 2005 in both the House version of the public safety finance bill and the final conference committee report. It increased the distillery fee from $15,000 to $30,000.
It can be sometimes difficult to gauge a candidate’s voting record on large budget bills because there are plenty of issues and moving parts in them. But Seifert, who was the GOP Majority Whip at the time, never proposed an amendment to reduce or eliminate the fee. In fact, no one proposed an amendment to reduce the size of the fees.
For the record, Seifert wasn’t the only candidate for governor to vote for the bill. Republican Tom Emmer and Democrats Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Paul Thissen voted for it in the House.
Republican David Hann and DFLer John Marty voted for it in the Senate.
DFL Sen. Tom Bakk and DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina voted against the bill.