DFL Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed the scaled down tax bill that Republicans passed in the closing days of the 2012 session.
Dayton quietly announced his decision this afternoon, just a few hours after holding a signing ceremony for the Vikings stadium bill. In a letter to House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Dayton said the package of tax breaks for businesses would cost the state $46 million in this biennium and an additional $73 million in the next biennium.
"It has been my consistent position throughout the session that any new spending increases or tax reductions had to maintain the current budget reserve and avoiding increasing future deficits," Dayton wrote.
The bill included a one-year freeze on business property taxes, an upfront sales tax exemption for equipment purchases and increased tax credits for Angel Investment and research and development.
Republicans said providing a set of tax breaks for business was their top priority. They made the bill smaller and less expensive after Dayton vetoed an earlier version over similar concerns about cost.
The chair of the Senate tax committee, Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said the veto was terrible news for the cities and small businesses that would have benefited from the bill.
"I hoped that he would do the right for the state of Minnesota and the best interests of all these Minnesotans that will be affected by this decision," Ortman said. "Small businesses in every town in the state of Minnesota and 39 of those cities that had economic development projects were relying on him to look out for their best interests."
Zellers also responded this evening to Dayton's veto. In a post on his website, the House speaker said Dayton's commissioners suggested elements of the tax bill, "and I accommodated their suggestions in ordering members to change the bill to suit what I thought represented the Administration's wishes. It is disrespectful to then see those very things cited as reasons for Governor Dayton's veto. This disingenuous pocket veto letter erodes my trust and confidence in Governor Dayton and his Administration."