House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk announced today that they're helping Gov. Mark Dayton break his week-old promise to farmers:
Farmers will have to wait to see if legislators will overturn a new tax they pay.
Legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton this morning could not agree on doing any more in a special session than approving less than $5 million in disaster relief. Before today’s meeting, everyone seemed to think that a new sales tax on farm implement repair should be canceled.
Of course, the DFL blamed Republicans:
However, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Republicans would not sign an agreement setting up a special session with just one tax overturned.
Gov. Dayton promised farmers that he'd repeal the farm equipment repair sales tax during the special session. This morning's announcement means that Gov. Dayton and the DFL are breaking their promise to farmers. Because they're the minority party, Republicans don't need to sign off on the special session agenda. There's nothing they can do to stop the DFL from following their script.
It's dishonest to blame Republicans for preventing the farm equipment repair tax from getting repealed. Whether the GOP signed off on the special session agenda or they refused to sign off on that agenda, the DFL has the votes to pass the sales tax repeal, then adjourn.
There isn't an honest dispute as to whether the DFL could've done what they wanted.
Gov. Mark Dayton had said he wanted the farm tax, which costs farmers $2 million a month, to be retroactive, so taxes paid so far would be refunded.
The question is why the DFL included the farm equipment repair sales tax in their tax bill to begin with. The answer is because it was part of Gov. Dayton's first budget proposal. The DFL's first governing principle is to raise taxes. The only time they consider repeal is when they realize the negative political impact those tax hikes will have.
This announcement came hours after a prominent DFL leader, former House Speaker Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, said that the telecommunications tax should be repealed during the special session.
Gov. Dayton, Speaker Thissen and Sen. Bakk aren't just breaking their promise to farmers. They're ignoring the advice of a prominent DFL leader. What's worst is that they're hurting Minnesota's economy by hurting farmers and other hard working Minnesotans.