MN House passes benefits bill for laid off miners – with disputed tax break


The Minnesota House passed a bill to extend unemployment benefits to laid off Iron Range workers.

It provides 26 weeks of additional insurance benefits to those who have been laid off after March 1, 2015 due to lack of work, the Minnesota House of Representatives says.

It passed 104-25.

That bill includes a tax break for businesses that pay into Minnesota's unemployment trust fund. And the fact that the bill addresses tax breaks means the stir between Democrats and Republicans over the matter continues.

Democrats have said they don't want those bills to be linked, and Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement saying he "strongly disapproves" with the House Republicans that tax reductions be a part of the legislation. Republicans don't think it matters whether it's one or two bills, since they argue Democrats supported the tax break measure previously.

The Senate (which is controlled by the DFL) passed the unemployment extension without the tax break.

The governor says while he supports the reductions, he believes they need to go through the routine processes – as opposed to being tagged onto another bill.

While Dayton says he does not support the combination bill, he added he would sign what the House and Senate agree upon as long as it includes the 26 weeks of added benefits for workers.

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt commented on the proposal to add tax cuts, saying it'd help long-term job growth. He says it'd credit $258 million to employers who've paid into the state's unemployment trust fund.

Now the Senate will have to re-pass the measure, but with the tax breaks. Or the two sides will need to meet and find a compromise solution.

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