Editorial: Lawmakers did a poor job of planning

Published 10:35 am Thursday, August 29, 2013

It sounds as if Minnesota lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton want to work to repeal a new state sales tax on farm equipment repairs that took effect July 1. The tax is a result of the last legislative session, part of a broader expansion of the state’s sales tax to commercial equipment repairs.

Dayton, and others, now say the tax is a mistake as it relates to farm equipment. He was willing to have lawmakers nix the tax during a special session next month. Republican lawmakers wanted to repeal other new taxes as well, reasoning that if the new taxes are hurting farmers, they are hurting other businesses as well. The two sides were not able to agree on how to address the tax issue, so it will not be part of the special session. But the problem remains.

We have to agree that the Legislature, controlled by Democrats, far overreached in passing tax hikes last session. The new taxes represented four times what the state needed to balance its books. All the extra taken out in taxes simply represents a burden on the private sector, slowing growth and hiring.

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In addition, the current mess with the farm equipment tax represents government at its worst, tinkering here and there to carve out exemptions and favors for some. If a tax needs to be imposed, then it should be levied broadly and fairly. If it cannot be, then it should be repealed.

— Fairmont Sentinel, Aug. 23

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