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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • BC Congress discusses a variety of issues

  • Senator Gary Dahms (R-District 16) and Representative Paul Torkelson (R-District 16B) were on hand last Friday to discuss a variety of issues with their constituents at Brown County Congress held in the REA auditorium.
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  • Senator Gary Dahms (R-District 16) and Representative Paul Torkelson (R-District 16B) were on hand last Friday to discuss a variety of issues with their constituents at Brown County Congress held in the REA auditorium.
     
    Big issues coming up that will be acted on this year in session include the bonding bill, minimum wage, a repeal of the business to business taxes including the warehouse tax, tax on electronics and farms sales tax on labor.
     
    In addition, last year there was a bill that exempted cities and counties from sales tax. According to Dahms, as cities and counties are getting into this they are finding things that aren’t working well.
     
    “If you are a municipality and you are doing a large project, and a city has the contract to purchase the product, they are going to pay sales tax on it,” Dahms explained. “If you purchase it as a city or county, you will not pay sales tax on it. However, under our current new law that comes into effect April 1 as the warehouse tax, if you purchase a product as a city, but leave it in the care, custody and control of the contractor, which is typical, you will be charged a warehouse tax.
     
    So there are some things that need to be cleaned up.”
     
    Sleepy Eye City Manager Mark Kober thanked Torkelson and Dahms for their support of LGA (Local Government Aid).
     
    Torkelson said he'd like to revisit LGA in an effort to help smaller communities with an inadequate property tax basis, saying larger cities have a good property tax basis and don't need a bigger share of LGA, which will probably happen in the next few years.
     
    “Right now the balance for LGA is 63 percent goes to rural Minnesota and the rest goes to the metro area. Eventually it will go to about a 50/50 split. In the long run, we are going to be on the losing end in rural Minnesota,” Torkelson said.
     
    He went on to say LGA is for cities who don’t have adequate property tax basis so it is hard for them to generate enough property taxes to do a lot of the things they are required to do, often by state mandate.
    “We need to refigure that formula a little bit so if focuses more on the places that are in need,” Torkelson added.
     
    The next Brown County Congress meeting is slated for April 18 when Dahms and Torkelson will be on hand to discuss issues that took place in the session.
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