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Undoing the farm equipment repair tax (02/09/2014)
From: State Rep.

Steve Drazkowski

Governor Dayton has been talking for months about making the 2014 legislative session the ďun-session.Ē In other words, he would like the House and Senate to focus on eliminating unnecessary or redundant laws.

I am in full agreement with the governor on this issue. Minnesota does have too many laws, and some of them are unneeded, so letís get rid of them.

Youíll recall that in Daytonís first year in the Governorís office, a Republican legislative majority joined forces with him and successfully reformed government in several areas, most notably environmental permitting. The very next session, Republicans hoped to build on this success and outlined a broad reform package called Reform 2.0, thinking we could continue to find common ground with the governor.

Iím not sure if he just tired of the whole reform idea in 2012, or if election year politics came into play, but Governor Dayton wasnít nearly as interested then as we were in making government more efficient.

So it came as a mild surprise that in 2014 Ė another election year Ė that Governor Dayton has once again become strongly interested in reforming government, though cynics might say it too could be part of his own re-election strategy.

Regardless, eliminating unnecessary laws is always a good idea. One of the first we should take off the books is a law Governor Dayton championed Ė the farm equipment repair sales tax Ė and Iím authoring a bill that would do just that.

Under this new law, every time a tractor, combine or any other piece of farm equipment needs fixing, farmers have been forced to pay a sales tax on the service, including labor charges.

At Farmfest last summer, Governor Dayton told farmers he was going to get rid of the farm equipment repair tax. A special session was calledshortly thereafter, yet he and Democratic legislative leaders refused to allow a debate on the topic, so the tax remained in place.

With our latest economic forecast showing a roughly $1 billion surplus, there is no need to continue forcing farmers to pay millions of dollars for a tax that wasnít necessary in 2013, and certainly isnít needed in 2014 and beyond.

Greater Minnesota lawmakers from both parties will support undoing the farm equipment repair tax during the unsession. But the only way thatís going to happen is if Governor Dayton and Democratic leadership admit this tax increase was a mistake, and actually give a bill authorizing its repeal a full debate on the House floor.



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