We're not usually up for mixing business with special session business at the state Legislature, but this year, lawmakers should make an exception.
A special session has been tentatively set for Sept. 9 to address disaster relief for Minnesotans who suffered damage in the June storms, and while it's vital those Minnesotans get the relief that's coming to them, we think it would also be a good time for legislators to grab their shovels and dig into some tax issues born from the omnibus tax bill passed in the 11th hour this past session - most notably, the business-to-business taxes that were approved.
DFL leaders have opened the door to consider repealing the business-to-business sales tax on farm repairs, but the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce said last week more needs to be done. And we agree.
The Legislature should use the special session to repeal all three business-to-business taxes enacted this year: the sales tax on repairs, the telecommunications equipment tax, and the warehouse and storage tax, of which DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has already said he will call for a repeal in February.
The latter, the Chamber says, is of utmost importance and should be addressed sooner rather than later since businesses need to start planning for the future now. Will that future be in Minnesota? Many Republicans fear it won't in some cases, since they believe the state is becoming less business-friendly by the year. The warehouse and storage tax wouldn't go into effect until next April, which is a good thing, because it gives lawmakers time to scrap it.
Now is that time.
These taxes, while they would generate millions of dollars of revenue for the state, the DFL says, are prime examples of questionable government coming from St. Paul. They shouldn't have passed in the first place.
Maybe not all these new taxes will be repealed, but we hope the Legislature takes advantage of the upcoming special session to at least begin talks to go in another direction.