MPCA Waste Proposal Could Cost Dearly

September 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

If your company plans to engage in new construction, reclamation or renovation, and you expect to deal with solid waste or contaminated soils, you need to express your thoughts this week to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regarding its proposal to substantially increase waste disposal taxes.

If their recommendation is adopted, it could have a chilling effect on the metropolitan region’s new development, building renovation or other construction sector activities that, in turn, could lead to yet more significant economic and social problems. Considering the current regulatory barriers to urban infill projects, for example, significant tax increases such as these could effectively stagnate redevelopment of already run-down regions in our metro area.

To voice your opinion about the proposed tax increase on solid waste, please send your email comments NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 5 P.M. to: johanna.kertesz@state.mn.us

Issue Background
The MPCA’s current proposal, among other issues, deals with construction and demolition materials as well as industrial waste such as contaminated soils. Taxes on mixed municipal solid waste (MMSW) are much higher than for industrial solid waste (ISW). The MPCA reports a significant increase in ISW disposal since 2009 while MMSW has remained constant, leading the agency to believe that much of the increase in ISW contains MMSW that could be removed from the landfilling stream and recycled or otherwise reprocessed.

To deal with the issue, the MPCA proposes to elevate taxes on ISW to equal that of MMSW – from the current $0.60-per-cubic-yard cost to 17-percent of the overall hauler bill. This hypothetical project illustrates the significant impact this tax increase could impose:

Solid Waste removal taxes:
• A 25,000-square-foot office remodeling job may generate 300 cubic yards of waste at a cost of approximately $3,500 for disposal. Under the current tax rate of $0.60 per cubic yard, a $180 fee would need to be paid to the MPCA. But under the MPCA’s proposal, a 17-percent tax would be applied to the overall cost for disposal – a $600 fee would now need to be paid. This represents more than a 200-percent increase in solid waste disposal taxes.

Contaminated soil removal taxes:
• A medium-sized project might generate 25,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils, which could cost approximately $1,120,000 to remove. Under the current tax of $0.60 per cubic yard, a developer would have to pay $15,000 in fees. Under the proposed tax of 17 percent of the total cost, the developer would now have to pay $190,400 – an increase of more than 1,000 percent.

What We’re Doing
The NAIOP Minnesota Public Policy Committee is tackling this issue head-on by providing comments directly to the MPCA, asking them not to adopt their proposed tax increases, and volunteering to help improve recycling of construction waste as well as the redevelopment of sites with environmental contamination. But your voice in this issue can make a difference too. I urge you to get involved and let the MPCA commissioners know how you feel about such an unwarranted move.

What You Can Do
You must email your comments NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 5 P.M. Please send your thoughts to: johanna.kertesz@state.mn.us

For more background, here is a link to the MPCA report and proposal.

When you send your note, you may want to consider these points:

  • Developers in Minnesota are in the business of improving quality of life by improving our living environment.
    • Every project not only improves lives but also increases state and local tax bases
  • MPCA’s proposal would curb new developments, building renovations and urban infill projects.
    • Quality of life will begin to decline.
  • Construction jobs would be lost and cities would not enjoy a more robust redevelopment effort.
    • Blighted areas will simply remain blighted longer.
  • MPCA should consider methods to more accurately monitor and appropriately channel solid waste streams, not simply raise taxes.
    • Technology exists to accomplish this, and developers and waste haulers are willing to work with the MPCA to accomplish the mutual goal to recycle more.

If you send comments to the MPCA, please let me know by dropping me a quick note at quinn@naiopmn.org. As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions on this issue or on how to submit comments.

Thank you.

-Quinn Cheney, Director of Public Policy

Entry filed under: Featured Articles, Industry News, Public Policy | Government Affairs.

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