Delivery tax gets pushback from array of opponents

Delivery tax gets pushback from array of opponents

Delivery tax gets pushback from array of opponents

Few things can bring people together more than a tax increase proposal that opponents say would harm workers, small businesses, low-income people, and people facing health challenges.

In this case, people have come together in opposition to a proposed 75-cent tax on all home deliveries in Minnesota to raise money for transportation.

“This proposed tax would negatively impact Minnesota’s economy and threaten the livelihoods of workers and small businesses across our great state,” Angie Whitcomb of Hospitality Minnesota said at a State Capitol news conference Friday morning.

She says it would hurt businesses that are finally recovering from the pandemic. “No industry was hit harder than ours during the pandemic, and delivery services offered small businesses and restaurants the opportunity to keep their employees and customers safe, all while keeping their doors open and their workers paid.”

The delivery tax was proposed by Rep. Erin Koegel, DFL-Spring Lake Park, earlier in the session. “One of the things we need to start looking at is creative new ways to generate revenue,” she said at a hearing in February.

The proposal received support at the hearing from transportation funding advocates. At the same hearing then and again today, an array of groups came out against the proposal.

“It’s not every day you get leaders from our state’s faith community, business community, and electeds standing together over an issue like this,” said Brooklyn Park Mayor Hollies Winston at Friday’s news conference.

He’s concerned about the impact on low-income people in his city. Others are concerned about vulnerable people with health issues who use home delivery out of necessity, not convenience.

“There are persons that have suffered greatly with health challenges, and they are unable to get out,” said Rev. Charles Gill of Pilgrim Baptist Church. “They are unable to walk the aisles of the grocery store. What about them? We’re saying no to this 75 cents tax. We’re saying no to this tax the way it has been proposed.”

The Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA) joined the chorus of opposition as grocery deliveries have skyrocketed in recent years. “This is a new and regressive fee on nearly every single retail delivery in the state,” said Jamie Pfuhl of the MGA.

Governor Tim Walz hasn’t taken a position on the tax yet, although he did acknowledge Friday he wants lawmakers to find more revenue sources for transportation and that the delivery tax is a part of the negotiations.