Minnesota DFL tax bill could impact rest of session negotiations with Senate Republicans

ST. PAUL, MN(Quinn Gorham)
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 3:33 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, MN -- On Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate passed a historic Tax Relief Bill, agreeing to send an estimated $4 billion back to Minnesotans in the form of rebate checks, child tax credits, and investments in local public safety.

Republicans have been critical of the DFL’s tax policy since the start of the session, asking them to pass more tax cuts before they could pass other legislation. Since they hold a majority of 1 vote in the Senate, the DFL can pass a lot of legislation without Republican support. Bonding, however, requires a supermajority to pass, and in March, the GOP blocked a binding bill from advancing past the Senate floor.

The bill was tabled for discussion at a late date , but Republicans continued to issue a list of their “legislative asks” for the session.

“We can get [bonding done]. We’re going to start engaging more. I’m hoping that Senator Dziedzic and her team are going to reach out more as we get down the path, but I’m not going to venture into guessing how this is going to end on the final day of the session,” said Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R - East Grand Forks).

One thing Republicans continue to push for is a full repeal of the Social Security Income Tax. While DFLer’s say a full repeal is unrealistic, especially when there are other things that money could go towards, the party included some relief in its Tax Bill Tuesday.

Under the newly passed bill, which still needs to be signed by the Governor, 76% percent of Minnesotans would pay no tax at all on their Social Security income, up from the current rate of around 50%.

“There are some things in this bill that we like there’s a relief for families and parents with children, although quite frankly, this bill does not go far enough when we have this kind of a surplus,” said Senator Bill Weber (R - Luverne).

To reach a compromise and get a binding bill done, Johnson said he’s willing to accept a Social Security Tax repeal down the line, if not immediately.

“If they can’t do it right now immediately, we want to make sure that there are guarantees that Social Security will be phased out going forward,” he said.

Johnson doesn’t see it as acquiescing to the DFL’s plans, so much as moving to try and find a path forward across party lines

“We’re willing to move we’re willing to compromise. We’re willing to do those things that Minnesota has asked us for. And we continue to get shut down in those conversations from Democrats,” he said.

Johnson did not want to comment on what to expect from Senate Republicans if a bonding bill comes to a second vote.

The Tax Bill has now passed through both the House and Senate and will head to a conference committee to discuss the final details before it makes its way to the Governor’s Desk.