Chair Rest and members of the committee,
My name is Maggee Hangge, and I am a policy associate at the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota. I am here today to share our support of SF2182.
When a young couple is considering whether to start a family, there is no doubt that the start-up costs on items like car seats, cribs, and strollers, are daunting. And new parents face the brunt of these costs more than anyone, especially at a time when inflation is high. On average, a new parent may spend between $12,000 to $20,000 or more on their baby in the first year of his or her life.
So, when sifting out the cost of items that could be state sales tax free if S.F. 2182 passes, from a quick search of places like Amazon and Target, on average, a parent will spend nearly $2000, with the sales tax on the items totaling about $130.
Although $130 out of nearly $2,000 does not seem like an overwhelming number, it can make a difference in the lives of new families. With that savings, the parents could in turn purchase their crib mattress and sheets, or nearly pay for their changing table.
Eliminating this tax is particularly vital for lower-income families who are often living paycheck-to-paycheck and are more impacted by inflation. A small tax cut for the state could make a life-saving difference when a family can now afford a new safe crib and car seat rather than getting those items already used in a neighborhood swap.
Minnesota is facing a demographic cliff – we have not had replacement fertility levels since 2006, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center. With these increasingly low birth rates, offering a small but impactful solution to families like eliminating state sales tax on essential baby items could help lessen some of the fear felt by prospective parents. And it will not have a significant impact on the state budget.
We hope that everyone can get behind putting families first. Let’s help parents of infants by easing the cost of these necessary items. Please vote yes on S.F. 2182.