COMMUNITY VOICES | Tax breaks for the rich while minimum wage stalls

In a move that a Forbes Magazine article called a “boon to the well off” DFL Governor Mark Dayton, along with the DFL controlled Senate and House passed a “Tax Relief” bill with almost no opposition. The bill passed the Minnesota Senate on a 58-5 vote, and the House of Representatives with a vote of 126-2.While Dayton ran his campaign on ‘tax the rich’ in order to win election, some of the provisions of this bill roll back taxes unpopular with Minnesota’s most wealthy individuals. Dayton signed this bill part of which repealed, retroactively, Minnesota’s Gift Tax. Before the repeal, the Gift Tax allowed an individual to ‘gift’ $14,000 per year to each child, child’s spouse, and children of the child, with a lifetime cap of $1 million before the ‘hated tax’ even kicked in, after which the donor would have had to pay a 10% tax on the gifted amount ($2 million cap including the donor’s spouse). Clearly not a tax at a level that would effect more than a small number of the wealthiest Minnesotans.Also included in the bill signed by Dayton were changes to the Estate Tax, which raises the exemption in Minnesota (the amount an individual can leave at death before taxes apply) from $1 million to $1.2 million, again retroactively, and will raise the exemption to $2 million by 2018.These moves, when viewed in context of a DFL controlled Governor, Senate and House that cannot in the past two sessions agree to raise the minimum wage to a paltry $9.50/ hour demonstrate again that working people cannot rely on the DFL as a champion. Continue Reading