Republican senator looking at cutting tax breaks as budget fixby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The chair of the Minnesota Senate Tax Committee says she's going to look at eliminating some tax deductions.
Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said she'd like to look at each deduction, whether it's for home mortgage interest or tax breaks for research and development. Minnesota's tax code includes billions of dollars in tax breaks.
Ortman said she intends to examine each tax break to determine whether it's meeting its intended goal.
"I feel like we have a mandate here at the Capitol to look at every dollar we spend and make sure that it's being spent in the best possible way, that it's being spent efficiently, and it's not duplicative, before we would ever do anything like raise a tax," Ortman said. "For me, we've just opened up a whole area of the budget that we haven't really been looking at before."
Ortman said there are a few breaks she thinks are working including the mortgage interest deduction, which she said helps promote home ownership. She didn't specify which deductions she would target.
But House Tax Chair Greg Davids, R-Preston, said closing any of those tax breaks should be viewed as a tax hike.
"For me, if you are taking away a deduction from someone, they will be paying more taxes," Davids said. "So do they get a tax increase? I would have to answer yes."
Gov. Dayton saidhe's pleased to see Senate Republicans looking at revenue to help solve the state's budget problems. He has proposed raising income taxes on Minnesota's top earners to balance the budget. Republicans in both the House and Senate oppose the idea.
Minnesota is facing a $6.2 billion projected budget deficit.