Recall the year 2018 when state lawmakers failed to align Minnesota tax laws with the revised federal tax rules. Their failure made Tax Day 2019 a nightmare for many Minnesotans. And more expensive, as many preparers charge more because of the unnecessary complexity St. Paul’s inaction left and the extra time required to complete essentially two different returns. To make matters worse, the new federal tax law eliminated a deduction for tax preparation fees.
A year later, lawmakers passed a tax compliance bill and eventually brought the state’s tax legislation more in line with the federal overhaul through a measure in the Bonding Act in 2020.
The tax compliance problem now? The federal small business paycheck protection program, designed to help them weather the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, includes loans that can be granted as long as they cover qualifying costs and 60% cover Payroll can be used. However, Minnesota still does not automatically adapt to changes in federal tax law. Hence, state legislation is required so that forgivable PPP loans are not taxed here and the federal deduction is allowed here.
“More than 100,000 Minnesota companies have participated in the PPP loan program. Without (St. Paul legislation now), many small and medium-sized businesses – already struggling with lost revenue – will face further tax burdens, “the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce said in a statement this week. “It is important that the federal tax law is complied with as soon as possible in the 2021 session as the final tax payment is due on April 15th.”
The chamber called on business leaders and others across the state to reach out to Governor Tim Walz and lawmakers to call for immediate action. The 2021 meeting is already underway. “Ask them to abide by federal PPP tax loan forgiveness and allow Minnesota income tax filing expenses to be deductible,” the board instructed.
It seems like a breeze to make sure Minnesota businesses that are already struggling receive the tax-free assistance they are given to guide them through a time of unprecedented challenge.
It also appears to be an easy bipartisan victory in the first session, potentially leading to more collaboration and compromise, better legislation, and a proper focus on the needs of Minnesotans ahead of the priorities of the DFL and Minnesota Republican parties.
Of course, nothing seems to be easy politically at the moment – not even at the state level or in the country of Minnesota Nice.
A city hall-like legislative discussion this week reminded online viewers of this. The event “quickly turned into a screaming match over the deadly uprising in the US Capitol (last week),” reported the Forum News Service, which hosted the discussion and is owned by Forum Communications.
The public lawmakers’ roundtable, held annually by the Intelligence Service, is usually an inconspicuous, but informative, opportunity for non-Metro Minnesotans to learn about the priorities of the meeting and what to expect.
This time, however, “Gloves peeled off as lawmakers yelled at each other while telling their opponents to tone down the rhetoric. This raised questions about the tone of the political negotiations that most affect the lives of Minnesotans during this year’s legislature. ” Sarah Mearhoff from the intelligence service reported. “The argument continued for most of the hour-long event, punctuated by a screaming match between (State House Spokeswoman Melissa) Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and (House Minority Leader Kurt) Daudt (R-Crown).”
While either party can take responsibility for the partisan brawl that Minnesotans and all Americans are increasingly failing to, Republicans are currently unwilling to recognize and accept the results of an election held by governors and state secretaries in all 50 countries as fair and without Widespread fraud has been declared to states, by coast-to-coast election officials and even by Republican Attorney General William Barr, who is marginalizing our nation. The violent language used by Trump and his supporters led directly to the deadly unrest in the U.S. Capitol last week.
As they should have done weeks ago, Republicans need to make a strong statement that there was no mass fraud in the elections. You must denounce and calm these false claims so that our nation can heal, move on and work together again on our streets and in our capitals without fear of riot.
Republicans in Minnesota must also work with DFLs – soon, even this week, with the need for a bipartisan victory perhaps never greater – to pass legislation so that small businesses supported by the Paycheck Protection Program don’t suffer tax penalties. Like the rest of us, they have suffered enough.
This editorial is the opinion of the Duluth News Tribune Editorial Board.