Conjunction dysfunction: A $100 million typo may lead to a special session

by Trevor Russell

School House Rock's ''Conjunction Junction' tried to warn us.  

After Gov. Mark Dayton's "pocket veto" of the tax bill, a special session appears more likely this month. 

The governor chose not to sign a tax bill that passed the legislature with a $100 millilion wording error, letting the clock run out on the bill and preventing it from becoming law.  This raises the prospect of a special session sometime in June to correct and re-pass the tax bill while also tackling bonding and transportation business left unfinished during the regular 2016 session.

Conjunction dysfunction

A single incorrect word amongst the 117,000 in the tax bill passed by the Legislature this May could have had one heck of a price tag.

In a section on tax breaks for pull-tabs sold at bingo halls, a drafting error — an "or" instead of an "and" — mistakely extended the break to many more businesses than intended. As a result, the state would have lost more than $100 million in taxes over three years, beginning July 1, as opposed to the intended provision's $1.5 million price-tag. On top of that, the huge tax break would have shorted the fund used to pay the state's share of the new Vikings Stadium by $21 million per year.

Rather than sign the bill, Gov. Dayton heeded the call of the Minnesota Management & Budget Office (per their memo) and left the bill unsigned. As a result of this pocket veto the tax bill failed to become law.

Special session?

FMR remains hopeful that the governor will successfully convene a special session this month to correct the tax bill and tackle high-priority environmental funding included in the legislature's draft bonding bill. Gov. Mark Dayton's original bonding proposal featured more than $220 million in water quality improvements and a variety of critical natural resource and river corridor investments supported by FMR. Gov. Dayton has expressed support for a special session, but prospects remain uncertain until leadership from both chambers agree to a special session agenda.

 
For updates, see FMR's main legislative page.
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