A proposed phase-out of Minnesota's business property tax has cleared its first legislative hurdle.
Members of the Senate Jobs Committee approved the bill Tuesday on a unanimous voice vote.
The Republican-sponsored measure would initially reduce the tax by $31 million. It would then make an additional 10 percent reduction every year until the tax is eliminated. The tax began in 2001 and brings in about $800 million a year.
The committee chairman, Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said a combination of tax breaks and regulatory relief will give businesses a reason to choose Minnesota.
"If we're on the edge of recovery, we want Minnesota to be the place that risk takers come," Michel said. "We want Minnesota to be the place where entrepreneurs say 'that's where I'm going to take a chance.' "
DFL Sen. Ken Kelash of Minneapolis questioned the efficiency of the bill. He said businesses will receive a tax break with no obligation to create new jobs.
"It's so broad based that it doesn't matter if they grow a job or not," Kelash said. "They just get a tax break on it."