Taxes committee gets “20,000-foot overview”

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The 29 members of the House Taxes Committee, most being new to the committee, got what the chairman called a “20,000-foot overview on the subject of taxes,” during their first meeting.

Analysts from the nonpartisan House Research Department explained the different sources of tax revenue collected by the state: nearly 42 percent comes from individual income taxes, 30.4 percent from sales taxes; and nearly 28 percent from other tax revenue, such as corporate and motor fuels.

Researchers noted that $5.3 million from sales taxes is projected to be collected in fiscal year 2011. Other than the 2008 voter-approved three-eighths of 1 percent increase to fund the arts and environment, Minnesota’s sales tax rate has not increased since 1991.

Researcher Pat Dalton said there are only six states with a higher sales tax rate than Minnesota; however, many states have a higher local option sales tax rate.

Before the presentation, Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), the committee chairman, said his practice in the previous committees that he has chaired, is to have a DFL bill first be taken up by the committee. This year, he expects that to be one related to biosciences and taxes sponsored by Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul). “They are bills that we want to get heard and acted on and to the governor’s desk,” Davids said, adding it could come forward in the next week or so.