In a recent opinion piece, House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen said Republicans favored businesses over individual Minnesotans in their latest tax bill.
To help make his point, he turned to a tax bill recently passed by the Minnesota House.
"99 percent of the Republicans' recent tax bill is directed at tax cuts for corporations, with next to nothing for Minnesota homeowners, Thissen wrote on April 12, 2012, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Thissen's claim is nearly correct.
The tax bill in question combines an array of tax credits for individuals and businesses, expanding some and shrinking others.
Most of the bill is targeted at businesses, including an expansion to a credit that allows corporations to sell tax liabilities to other businesses, an expansion of the research and development credit, and the gradual elimination of a tax on commercial and industrial properties.
Combined, all those credits would mean nearly $500 million less in the state's coffers.
While the vast majority of these tax breaks are meant for businesses, there are roughly $20 million in tax breaks for individuals in the bill as well. For instance, individuals could benefit from an increase in the angel investment tax credit, and a one-time boost in a property tax relief program.
Thissen's claim is in the ballpark. He said 99 percent of the tax credits in the tax bill are for businesses, with very little for homeowners. In fact, 96 percent of the tax credits are targeted at businesses.
Thissen is off by 3 percentage points, but he's close enough to earn an accurate.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, GOP's lips say 'yes' to jobs; actions say 'no', by Paul Thissen, April 12, 2012
Tax Provision in HF 2337, Third Engrossment, Based on the February 2012 Forecast, March 21, 2012
Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, Small Business Investment Tax Credit, accessed April 13, 2012
E-mail exchange, Mike Howard, spokesman, Minnesota House DFL Caucus, April 12, 2012
Interview, Cynthia Templin, House Fiscal Staff, April 12, 2012
Interview, Katherine Schill, House Fiscal Staff, April 13, 2012
It is perhaps true that "only" 96 percent of the benefits go to business. One must consider though that angel investors are invariably wealthy folks looking for a good return on their excess cash. An additional tax break for that is just another give-away to the rich.