ST. PAUL A bill expanding the eligibility of Minnesota's brewer's tax credit is taking a second shot at passage this year. Sponsors sought to pass the bill in the two omnibus tax bills passed in the Minnesota Legislature's 2011 session, but each of the omnibus bills were vetoed during the fight leading to the state government shutdown and it was not re-passed due to the time constraints of the subsequent special session.
The bill seeks to expand the definition of breweries eligible for the tax credit from those producing under 100,000 barrels per year to under 250,000 barrels per year. The tax credit itself provided $4.60 per barrel for the first 25,000 barrels produced each year, capping at a maximum award of $115,000. August Schell Brewing and Summit Brewing Company are the two companies poised to directly benefit from the bill. The cost to the state estimated during the last attempt at passage was $390,000 annually.
During the Monday hearing for the bill in the Minnesota House Commerce Committee, Summit Brewing President Mark Stutrud spoke on behalf of both breweries. He said the bill prevented well-known breweries like his own from being kicked into a higher tax bracket despite being nowhere comparable to the major national breweries. He said this tax credit expansion would greatly boost Minnesota's breweries the ability to grow and expand in the future.
Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), the chief author of the bill, said he believes the bill has a strong chance of passage this year due overwhelming support for it. He said the only reason it was not passed last year was due to it being caught up in the veto of the larger tax bills.
He said he expects a Minnesota House companion bill to be introduced soon.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.