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Legislation that would have exempted nonprofits from city fees and service charges appears to be dead for the session.
(Published Mar 14, 2013)
A bill introduced by Sen. Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center), SF 1050, that would have exempted many nonprofit entities from certain city fees and charges was officially returned to the author after concerns were raised about the potential impacts of the legislation.
As a result of the Senate action, the House author, Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park) pulled the bill (HF 781) from the Wednesday agenda of the House Government Operations Committee. Based on these two actions, which removed the bill from being heard by all policy committees before the first deadline, the bill should be officially dead for the session.
The bill would have exempted institutions of public charity, as defined in Minn. Stat., section 272.02, subdivision 7, (churches, universities and colleges were not covered by the bill) from paying fees or charges imposed by a city if that fee or charge was for a service provided by the city, and within the most recent five years, the service had been paid for in whole or in part from revenue raised from the city’s property tax levy.
Neither the bill nor the statute that was proposed to be amended (Minn. Stat., section 426) defined the terms “fee” or “charge” and therefore, it was not clear what “fees and charges” would have been impacted. For example, the definition would have likely impacted storm sewer charges and street lighting charges but it could have also impacted special assessments, water and sewer charges, waste hauling charges and other current service charges.
In addition, even if a service provided by a city had been largely paid by fees or charges, any use of property taxes within the past five years to fund that service would have triggered the exemption for nonprofit organizations.
The League was prepared to testify in opposition to the proposal based on 2013 City Policies that support public infrastructure utilities (LE-6, page 46) and local revenue diversification (FF-20, page 96).
Questions? Contact Gary N. Carlson at (651) 281-1255 or email@example.com.
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