Minnesota 'snowbird tax' proposal may keep visitors in AZ - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Minnesota 'snowbird tax' proposal may keep visitors in AZ

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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Arizona's winter visitors, fondly referred to as snowbirds, could soon be hit where it hurts, thanks to a tax proposal from an out-of-state governor.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has said snowbirds aren't paying their fair share and he has come up with a proposal that has been dubbed "the snowbird tax."

"We go in the summertime, we have family there," said Valley resident Jim Jewett. Although a job forced him to trade snow for sunshine, they often spend a couple months a year in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

"We just completed plans to build there, a seasonal home," Jewett said.

Right now, only those who spend six months or more in Minnesota have to pay income taxes, but if Dayton has his way, that would change to those who spend 60 days or more in the state.

"The first reaction I think most people have when they hear of a new tax is, 'Here's a way for the government to get more money because they're running short,'" Jewett said.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue said this proposal would raise $15 million a year and that it's a matter of fairness.

"The tax applies seemingly to people who are retired, primarily, or have seasonal homes there, fixed incomes. It's another tap on that income," Jewett said.

Business attorney Jonathan Frutkin said whenever tax laws change, people react, causing some snowbirds to fly the coop.

"Minnesota would give you a credit for the amount you paid in Arizona taxes, but because the Minnesota rate is basically double that in Arizona, the result would be you are paying twice as much than if the law were to stay the same," Frutkin said.

Jewett said if this passes, he might have to rethink his investment.

"Go to Minnesota and just stay in a resort or cabin or something and not have a place any longer," Jewett said.

The budget has not been approved, and legislators in Minnesota are still reviewing it.

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