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Dayton says special session to focus on storm damage relief

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Gov. Mark Dayton says a planned special session of the Minnesota Legislature next month will focus solely on disaster relief and repealing a new tax on farm equipment repairs, otherwise the session will be called off, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Dayton's stand Tuesday stems from several Republican leaders' call for a repeal of other new taxes be added to the agenda, including a controversial warehousing tax. The governor, on the other hand, says he wants to concentrate on getting relief to people in 18 counties that suffered wind and flood damage in June.

According to MPR, Dayton says adding more to the agenda is "just really abusing the purpose of a special session," and that the focus should be "getting people in southeastern Minnesota the disaster assistance they need."

Dayton says he sent Republican leaders a draft agreement Tuesday that "exactly follows the one last year" that leaders of both parties signed off on, which called for disaster relief in northeastern Minnesota. The difference, he says, is that is the "addition of one or two sentences on the agricultural repeal."

"If they sign it, we'll have a special session. If they don't, we won't," Dayton adds.

The proposed session is set for Sept. 9 at 2 p.m., with a guaranteed adjournment by 10 a.m. Sept. 10.

The Star Tribune reports that House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt met with Dayton Tuesday night, and said that Dayton agreed to meet with all legislative leaders late this week to reach a possible compromise.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann also weighed in, saying that if the Legislature is going to look at some tax relief, "we should look at a broader array of those taxes."

The Star Tribune says that the repeal of the farm equipment repair tax would amount to about $28 million, a fraction of the state's multi-billion dollar budget.

State Republican leaders aren't the only ones asking for the repeal of more business taxes.

Last week, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce of Commerce sent a letter to Dayton, urging the repeal of three new business-to-business taxes during the special session.

"We respectfully ask for prompt legislative action to repeal all three of the new business to business taxes as they all negatively impact business and job growth in Minnesota," wrote Chamber president David Olson.

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