Following the conclusion of the 2018 Minnesota legislative session, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the legislature’s Tax Relief and Conformity Bill, nullifying efforts to decrease taxes for 82% of Minnesotans, prevent tax increases for 99.8% of tax filers, and simplify the state tax code for everyone.
“After enacting into law the largest tax relief package in nearly two decades in 2017, the State of Minnesota had an over $300 million surplus in 2018,” said Senator Scott Newman [R-Hutchinson]. “Building upon this extremely successful pro-growth plan, the legislature aimed to not only continue providing relief to hardworking Minnesota families, but also simplify filing taxes for everyone. I am incredibly disappointed that the Governor did not share in that vision.”
The State of Minnesota relies on many of the definitions and calculations used in the federal tax code to determine state taxes. Due to the recent changes by U.S Congress and the President to the federal tax code, Minnesota’s state income taxes were significantly impacted. In response, the legislature passed a 2018 Tax Relief and Conformity Bill that not only simplified Minnesota’s tax code to fully benefit from federal tax reform, but also provided additional tax relief to middle-class Minnesotans. The legislation was highlighted by reducing the first and second tier income tax rates, which would have been the first income tax rate cut for Minnesotans in nearly two decades.
“Since Governor Dayton vetoed the bill, the unfortunate result will be unintended tax increases for Minnesota families across our state, plus a supremely complicated tax filing procedure for every Minnesotan,” added Senator Newman.
In his veto letter, Governor Dayton stated his reasoning for vetoing the legislation was a lack of “$137.9 million in one-time Emergency School Aid”, a demand he made before he would even discuss the tax bill with legislative leaders. In response, the legislature presented Governor Dayton with legislation that provided $105 million in new school aid. Due to the Governor’s refusal to compromise, the legislature’s offer was rejected and he vetoed the tax bill.
“Governor Dayton acted like a spoiled, petulant child,” concluded Senator Newman. “We compromised with Governor Dayton in providing schools with over $100 million in new revenue, nearly 75% of what he asked for, yet he refused to engage in discussions with us. As a result, Minnesota families will be clobbered at tax time and saddled with an unnecessarily complicated filing system. When the legislature returns in 2019, I will be working on legislation, with our new Governor, in hopes of passing a tax conformity bill in time for the 2018 tax filing deadline”.
Senator Scott Newman is in his third term representing Senate District 18, which includes communities in McLeod, Meeker, Sibley, and Wright counties. He also serves as chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.