April 29, 2015
In this issue:
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Scott Lambert
Executive Vice President

Amber Backhaus
Government Affairs

Contact Your Legislator:
MN Senate: 651-296-0504

MN House: 651-296-2146

Sunday Auto Sales Amendment Defeated on a Procedural Motion
Issue Likely Dead for the Remainder of 2015 Session
Thank you to all of the MADA members and employees who contacted your state representatives and asked them to oppose an amendment to the Omnibus Liquor Bill offered by Representative Ron Erhardt (DFL-Edina) to repeal the prohibition on Sunday sales of motor vehicles.  Because the motor vehicle sales prohibition is included in a different section of law than the ban on Sunday liquor sales, Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) ruled the auto amendment not germane to the bill.  However, Representative Erhardt was not satisfied with the Speaker’s decision and requested that his colleagues vote to appeal the ruling of the Chair, a motion which failed overwhelmingly on a vote of 113-17.
Besides Erhardt, the only other legislator to speak in support of Sunday auto sales was Representative Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), who is the author of the standalone bill on the issue. She called the current law “an anti-competitive practice that hurts consumers worse than [the ban on] Sunday liquor sales.”
Many thanks to House Commerce Chair Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) for raising the point of order that the Erhardt amendment was not germane to the bill and to Representative Tim Sanders (R-Blaine), the author of the underlying liquor bill, who eloquently spoke to the differences between buying beer and cars. With the Omnibus Liquor Bill headed to a conference committee to work on some minor differences between the House and Senate versions, there should be no additional opportunities for legislators to move Sunday auto sales this year.  However, with the Sunday liquor issue still unresolved (that amendment also failed 75-57), we anticipate attacks on the Sunday Closing law to return in 2016.
If you are interested in watching the debate unfold, click on the attached photo and go to the 16:45 mark in the video.
Single License Plates in the Mix
Amendment Added to House Transportation Bill
Last week, when the House took up House File 4, its transportation funding package, Representative Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) successfully added language to the bill allowing only one license plate to be displayed on a vehicle if it does not come with a factory installed front bracket mount.  His amendment received little opposition after a broader single license plate amendment offered by Representative Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) failed handily due to vociferous opposition by legislators sympathetic to law enforcement.
Whether the proposal becomes law will now be determined by a conference committee of senators and representatives (who have yet to be named) that will be working out the differences between the funding packages passed by each body.  MADA will be working to keep the language as law enforcement and 3M (a vendor to the license plate industry) work behind the scenes to kill it.
A Tale of Two Tax Bills
GOP House and DFL Senate Universes Apart
Minnesota House Republicans have made tax relief a centerpiece of their 2015 legislative agenda with a bill that provides $2 billion in credits and tax cuts for Minnesotans. The House tax plan would offer every Minnesota income tax filer a temporary $1,000 exemption for the next two years and phase in tax cuts for Social Security recipients.  For businesses, the House phases out the statewide business property tax over six years and increases the estate tax to the federal threshold of $5.4 million by 2019. In contrast, the Senate DFL plan looks extremely modest.
Costing about $460 million over the next two years, Senate Democrats focus half of the bill’s cost on local governments by repaying accounting shifts made during previous budget cycles.  Other initiatives include providing tax credits to businesses that that hire veterans and to developers that build workforce housing in Greater Minnesota.  While the Senate does provide some relief to business property taxpayers by reducing the state levy on commercial and industrial property, the business community believes any benefits would be offset by changes in property class rates.
Senate Tax Chair Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) said DFL senators want to provide the tax relief they can afford now and let lawmakers in the future decide whether to continue reducing business taxes.  They claim the House GOP approach will plunge the state into future deficits.  Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chairman of House Taxes, said “the basic philosophy of this [House] bill is Minnesotans know what to do with their money better than state government does.”  He later added, while acknowledging the differences between the House and Senate approaches, “I think the House is from Venus and the Senate is from Mars.”
At-a-Glance: Status of MADA Priorities
With the House and Senate having assembled their omnibus budget bills, the chart below highlights into which pieces of legislation MADA priorities are tucked.  Conference committees will be convening in the coming weeks to determine whether these policies are enacted into law.

MADA Priority
Prevent tax increases on sale of new vehicles
Senate Transportation Bill raises the vehicle registration tax from 1.25% to 1.5%.
No similar provision.
Promote careers in the automotive industry
Senate Higher Education Bill offers two years of free tuition at MnSCU colleges for qualifying students
No similar provision.
Incent the purchase of zero-emission electric vehicles
No similar provision.
House Employment, Economic Development and Energy Bill includes rebates of $2,500 for purchases of electric vehicles by consumers who live within Xcel Energy’s service territory.
Getting to Work Bill
Senate Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, Jobs, and Economic Development Bill provides $1 million to expand vehicle donation and low-interest auto programs around the state.
No similar provision.
Of course, MADA will keep you informed on all proposals affecting your dealership throughout the Legislative Session with weekly Legislative Bulletins emailed to you and found at www.mada.org
Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association Legislative Bulletin