Republicans are speaking out against the DFL majority’s decision to remove a bipartisan proposal to expand the sales tax exemption for baby products from an omnibus tax bill.
“Who was against this?” asked Sen. Julia Coleman, R-Waconia, during a Monday press conference. “It passed with unanimous bipartisan support. It has a relatively small fiscal impact. So where was the controversy?”
Products such as diapers, pacifiers, and formula are currently exempted from state and local sales taxes. Republicans in both chambers successfully amended an omnibus tax bill to expand the exemption to items such as cribs, strollers, mattresses, car seats, and wipes. That amendment, however, was stripped from the bill during conference committee.
“Well happy Mother’s Day folks. This is what the DFL gave you,” said Rep. Elliot Engen, R-White Bear Township.
Coleman said the expanded exemption would cost $7 million over the next biennium.
“With an $18 billion surplus, you can shake a couch cushion around here to find $7 million to help growing families in the state of Minnesota,” she said. “Taking it off the table, on Mother’s Day of all days, not only hurts parents, but it seems to be purely vindictive against a Republican success.”
Coleman and Engen urged DFLers to reconsider before the conference committee report is adopted.
“From my understanding, House Democrats never put this in any of their offers and so eventually it came out of the Senate offers as well,” Coleman explained.
Rep. Aisha Gomez, DFL-Minneapolis, chairs the House Taxes Committee and touted the fact that DFLers didn’t revoke the existing exemption for baby products in a statement provided to Axios.
“Our tax bill is laser focused on making Minnesota the best place to raise children,” she said. “We make targeted investments that reduce child poverty for low-income families and there are other provisions that could have a greater effect than the baby product exemption.”