Morrison County, one of 18 counties that will receive portions of the $4.5 million in disaster aid that was approved Monday by the Minnesota Legislature, will receive about $133,000 of that money, Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Cass County, said.
The disaster package passed with only one dissenting vote in the House in a special session that lasted about four hours.
Gazelka and Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, said damage in Morrison County included downed power lines and trees and sidewalk damage. The damage took place when storms hit the state in June resulting in what some have termed the largest power outage in state history.
The two GOP lawmakers said it was unfortunate there was no agreement to repeal any of the business taxes passed during the last legislative session, particularly the taxes on heavy equipment repairs such as farm equipment.
“That would have been a really good one to get rid of,” Gazelka said.
Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, and Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, said they co-authored a bill to repeal the tax on farm equipment repairs. Both expressed disappointment that bipartisan agreement was not reached on that issue between the governor and legislative leaders. The DFLers said Republican leaders blocked a proposal introduced by DFL leaders to repeal the farm equipment tax and insisted on a larger group of tax cuts without a plan to pay for them.
Gazelka termed the DFL efforts regarding the tax repeal as posturing since they were in the majority and could have repealed the taxes with or without Republican help.
“The Democrats were able to pass the increases without us,” Gazelka said.