With the 2013 Session of the Minnesota Legislature wrapped up, it is time to take stock of how the trucking industry fared. The answer is always a matter of perspective. We beat back many onerous provisions, but also lost on some important items.
To be honest, I can't remember a session where so many real threats were leveled at our industry. It has also been over two decades since we had the kind of one-party rule we experienced in 2013. This was a very challenging environment for trucking and business in general.
Your involvement made a huge difference. I will say it again. Your involvement DID have an impact. We could easily have had many more losses had it not been for an engaged and active membership. You should take pride in the fact that your e-mails, letters, calls and visits changed votes. You put faces and people behind the data and arguments being used by our lobbying team at the Capitol. Thank you!
- The sales tax was NOT extended to trucking services
- The sales tax was NOT extended to motor vehicle repair labor
- The motor vehicle sales tax was NOT increased to 6. 85 percent
- The independent contractor definition was NOT changed
- Street utility fees were NOT approved
- New tolling was NOT allowed under proposed public private partnership pilots
- A gross receipts tax was NOT applied to motor vehicle fuel
- The 6. 5 percent sales tax was extended to warehousing services
- A fourth tier was added to the state's personal income tax
- Wheelage taxes were allowed in all Minnesota counties
Now, we are in the interim, which in legislative speak means half-time of this biennial session. Policy items introduced are technically still alive and can be taken up when the legislature reconvenes in February. During this interim, we will be working to strengthen relationships with legislators and work hard to make our case on some lingering problems.
The warehouse tax is one example. Some good news is that we were able to push the effective date back to April 1, 2014. This gives us one session to repeal the tax. Fortunately, legislative leaders began backtracking on the tax the day after the session ended and pledged to reexamine it. With some prompting from the MTA, the Star Tribune took an editorial position on June 4 urging the legislature to do just that.
So … keep your head up and in the game. We are going to play hard until the final buzzer next May.