House panel debates end to Minn. business property taxby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A Minnesota House panel is considering legislation to phase out the state business property tax over 12 years.
The House Taxes Committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday but did not vote on the measure. Republicans are pushing the phase out as part of their broader agenda to try to improve the state's business climate.
They're proposing to pay for most of the bill through cuts to the tax credit for low-income renters. During the hearing, committee Chairman Greg Davids of Preston said his bill is aimed at helping businesses create new jobs.
"Our small businesses are the job creators. Yes, they need customers, but they're the ones that are actually providing the jobs and creating the jobs," Davids said.
Democrats on the committee criticized the bill's reduction in the renters credit. Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, suggested a better approach would be taxing the rich.
"It just amazes me that we find money for corporations from the pockets of low-income people, for $70 [million] to $80 million a year, where there's not much to squeeze there," Lesch said. "There's plenty to squeeze at the upper end of the income for people who are doing well."
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said he thinks it shows the Legislature's priorities are "getting screwed up."