Revenue commissioner will hold a Farmington forum on tax reform
Minnesota Department of Revenue commissioner Myron Frans wants to hear from Farmington residents, so he's making a special trip to town in January.
Frans has scheduled a town hall meeting at the Dakota County Library in Farmington to talk to residents about tax reform. It's part of an initiative set forth following Gov. Mark Dayton's October job summit, where the issue of tax reform was a focus of discussion.
According to Department of Revenue communications director Janelle Tummel, Dayton directed Frans to begin working on tax reform in Minnesota. To do that, Frans is looking for input from the residents of the state.
The idea of a town hall meeting brings Frans to communities throughout the state. He started the meetings in November. Farmington is among the first of the communities visited by Frans on his information gathering run.
In addition, he has been holding tax reform meetings with newspaper editorial boards, chambers of commerce and other community groups in other cities.
In his town hall meetings, Frans conducts a short presentation on Minnesota's current tax system. He reviews the benefits and the shortfalls. He talks about how the tax system is distributed among Minnesotans.
The presentation portion is short and informative. It lays out current trends compared to how things looked in the past. It's designed to bring audience members up to speed with all of the issues regarding the tax system, but to do so in a short, informative manner so there is plenty of time for questions, answers, thoughts and concerns.
"The presentation piece goes quickly," Tummel said. "What we really want to do is have time for a really great discussion. We've found that in about an hour, we can get a really great discussion going."
The information collected at Farmington - and at all of the subsequent town hall meetings and tax reform meetings - will be compiled by Frans' staff over the course of the year. By the latter part of 2012, Frans expects to have sifted through all the information, then work up a proposal for tax reform that the governor can present to state legislators and citizens. Tummel said it was too early to know what that document may look like, or how long it may be, but by this time next year, Department of Revenue staff should have a good idea of what direction lawmakers should go in developing tax reform options.
So far, the town hall meetings and tax reform meetings have helped Frans hear from about 650 Minnesota residents.
"That's really the point of this," Tummel said.
"We do want real input on this because if we do some sort of major tax reform, everyone will be affected. It's about everybody compromising in one way or another."
Frans comes to Farmington on an invitation from Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Republican. It's that kind of interest in tax reform by both parties that makes the work of this next year important, Tummel said.
"We're really reaching out to people to hear their ideas. That's the proof for that. Both Republicans and Democrats are interested in having the commissioner come to their area. I think everyone really recognizes the importance of that," she said.
Frans will hold his town hall meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11. The meeting is open to the public, and will be held at the Farmington Library.
For information, residents can visit taxes.state.mn.us/Pages/taxreform.aspx or twitter. com/mnrevenue.