Legislators decide to let Dayton ‘save northwestern Minnesota’

Democratic lawmakers have decided not to fight Republican bills that would eliminate tax breaks in five western Minnesota cities.

They want the tax breaks to continue, but know the Republican-controlled Legislature would reject their arguments. They are betting that Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton wins the day.

“Why make a fuss about it?” Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, asked. “Gov. Dayton is going to save northwestern Minnesota with a veto anyway.”

Existing law allows Breckenridge, Dilworth, East Grand Forks, Moorhead and Ortonville to lower property taxes for some new businesses so the communities can compete with lower taxes in nearby North Dakota. The law has been on the books for years, and area lawmakers often have had to overcome opposition to it.

While Dayton refuses to say what bills he will veto, he told reporters on Thursday that he has strong opposition to GOP tax bills that would reduce aid paid to local governments. Those bills contain the border cities action.

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