Proposed special session still facing tax hurdle

Gov. Mark Dayton speaks at a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension event to recognize the work of forensic science laboratory employees. (MPR News Photo/Tim Pugmire)

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said today that he hopes House and Senate leaders can at least agree on the date for a special session when they meet with him privately Friday afternoon.

Dayton is proposing a one-day special session on Sept. 9 to approve storm-damage relief for 18 counties, and also to exempt farm machinery from a new tax on business equipment repairs. DFL leaders are on board, but he wants Republicans to also sign off in advance on the limited agenda.

“I’d be delighted to get five signatures on one piece of paper at the conclusion, but I think we’ve got a little more time to deal with that,” Dayton told reporters during an event at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension today.

But GOP lawmakers are still insisting to include an additional tax repeal in the special session.

State Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, announces during a news conference that he’ll push to repeal a warehouse tax during a special session. (MPR News Photo/Tim Pugmire)

Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, announced during a news conference today that he’s already drafted a bill that would eliminate the new tax on warehousing services. Thompson, who is a GOP candidate for governor, said the warehousing tax is “toxic” to Minnesota’s business climate.

“People are saying ‘well this thing doesn’t go into effect until April.’ Well, any of you that have been involved in business at any level know that  planning goes on well in advance for taxes,” Thompson said. “So, the sooner we can get rid of this, the better.”

Thompson said spending could be cut to offset the revenue loss from the repeal.

But Dayton, who also has concerns with warehousing tax, said Republicans still haven’t offered the specifics of a serious proposal. He’s willing to wait unto the 2014 session to address the issue.

“If they want to have it be considered seriously, then they’re going to have to get down to the nitty gritty of legislating and be specific about where they’re going to balance the books.”

Dayton said the warehousing tax is projected to bring in $95 million for the biennium.

The governor said a second option for the special session is to take up only the disaster aid. He said if House and Senate leaders can’t agree to either of his two proposed agendas, then there will not be a special session.