Rep. Neu Brindley: Democrat legislation ‘most dishonest bill we’ve seen this session’

The North Branch legislator said Democrats believe junk fees should just be hidden, while Republicans believe junk fees should be eliminated altogether.

Rep. Anne Neu Brindley speaks on the House floor Thursday, April 11. (Minnesota House Info/YouTube)

A bill passed by Democrats in the Minnesota House of Representatives would require Minnesota businesses to roll all fees associated with purchasing a product into the product’s advertised price.

Specifically, HF 3438 would require businesses to display prices for goods or services that include “all mandatory fees or surcharges” associated with the purchase of the product. Under the bill, taxes, such as sales taxes, would not be included in a product’s displayed price.

The bill was authored by Rep. Emma Greenman, D-Minneapolis. According to Rep. Greenman, her legislation “would end the pervasive use of junk fees” and ensure that accurate pricing for goods and services are presented to consumers when shopping.

The Minneapolis legislator listed examples of junk fees, including “convenience fees, wellness fees, resort fees, service fees, processing fees, handling fees, connection fees, facility fees, and a new one; inflation facility fees.”

Republican Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, R-North Branch, one of the most vocal critics of the bill, referred to the legislation as the “hide government fees and taxes bill.”

“The problem with this language overall, of course, is that it forces businesses to hide all of the government mandates imposed on these businesses, and it forces the business to show these things to a customer as though they just want to raise prices,” said Rep. Neu Brindley.

In short, Rep. Neu Brindley was saying that HF 3438 would force businesses to raise their listed prices to include any additional fees or surcharges associated with a purchase. As such, Neu Brindley explained that those price increases could give the impression that businesses just want to raise prices on consumers, when in fact the additional fees and surcharges may be the result of government mandates.

However, Rep. Greenman previously appeared to indicate that her bill would still allow businesses to itemize costs on customer receipts, saying, “There’s nothing in this bill that changes how people would disclose the government fees.”

Nevertheless, Rep. Neu Brindley accused Democrats of being “unwilling” to let consumers know when the government is “gouging” consumers. The North Branch legislator also said Democrats believe junk fees should just be hidden, while Republicans believe junk fees should be eliminated altogether.

“Let’s stop taxing everything that moves in the State of Minnesota,” said Rep. Neu Brindley. “That’s the junk fee. The fact that we are forcing Minnesotans to pay a tax on everything that moves. That’s the real junk fee here. That’s what the Democrats are trying to hide with this bill.”

Rep. Neu Brindley called the bill “the most dishonest bill we’ve seen this session.”

Before Rep. Neu Brindley made her comments on the bill, Rep. Harry Niska, R-Ramsey, criticized HF 3438, saying it makes “every single business in the State of Minnesota a target for litigation, a lot of it will be shakedown litigation.”

HF 3438 passed in a partisan vote, 70-61. All Democrats voted in favor, all present Republicans voted against. The bill has not yet been passed in the Minnesota Senate.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.