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  • 2016 Legislative Recap

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    Legislative Session
    The House adjourned just prior to midnight on May 23rd and the Senate just after.  The last days of session were frenzied and chaotic, followed by long stretches of boredom for many legislators, while others huddled in backrooms making deals.  In the end, here’s how TwinWest’s business priorities fared.
    Business Property Tax Relief
    The first $100,000 of market value will be exempted from statewide business property tax.  This exemption will result in a savings of approximately $730 for each C/I property valued at $100,000 or more.  Repeal of the automatic inflator was NOT included.

    A step was made in the right direction to ease the number of lawsuits targeting small businesses for alleged violations of the ADA.  Businesses are now provided clear affirmative defenses when noncompliance is alleged and shift the burden of proof to complainants for businesses that have been audited by accessibility specialists.
    Unemployment Insurance
    Employers will receive a one-time credit in 2016 on unemployment insurance premiums and future credits whenever the fund reaches 104% of the federally-recommended solvency level.
    Paid Leave
    A troubling paid leave bill, financed by a new payroll tax on both employees and employers made its way through the Senate.  In addition to the new taxes, the bill created a new, expensive department within DEED to administer.  Despite making significant progress in the senate, the bill never got traction in the House. 

    The clock ran out before the legislature was able to pass a nearly $1 billion bonding package that included robust road and bridge funding that was negotiated once a path couldn’t be found for a comprehensive transportation bill.  The bonding bill contains about $300 million cash infusion, $240 million in G/O bonds and $200 million in trunk highway bonds. 
    Despite the work in both the 2015 and the 2016 legislative session, a comprehensive transportation bill was not to be.  A compromise couldn’t be found, with funding for light rail seemingly was the sticking point that couldn’t be overcome. 
    The preemption bill was alive until the last moments of the session, but did not prevail in the end.  We support legislation that prevents local governments from enacting wage and benefit ordinances that conflict with state laws.  Work on this issue will continue at the local level.
    REAL ID remains unresolved because of disagreement on how or whether to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in Minnesota.  You can still use your MN ID to fly domestically until 2018, but access to some federal buildings and federal regulated air travel will require a passport. 
    The automatic inflator on the tobacco tax was removed. 
    Residency factors were modified so individuals who have moved out of state can continue to conduct business with Minnesota businesses.  The Dept. of Revenue will not be able to consider the location on one’s attorney, CPA, financial advisor or financial institution in determining residency.
    Effective in 2019, marketplace providers are required to collect sales and use taxes.
    Special Session
    Special session talk is on-going.  There seems to be a willingness to come back to pass the bonding bill.  Gov. Dayton has to be the one to call the special session.
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    1600 Utica Ave S., 9th Floor
    St. Louis Park, MN 55416

    Telephone: (763) 450-2220  | Email: info@twinwest.com