May 10, 2023 - Politics

Minnesota set to exempt baby cribs, strollers from sales tax

Illustration of a piggy bank with a pacifier in their mouth.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Cribs, strollers and other baby gear would no longer be subject to state and local sales tax under a proposal included in a pair of Minnesota budget bills.

Why it matters: Having a baby is expensive. Even buying the bare essentials ahead of a newborn's arrival can easily set people back hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Driving the news: The state Senate approved the sales tax exemption language last week, as an amendment to a wide-reaching tax bill.

  • The same proposal was already adopted in the House's version, meaning it's on track to make it into a final agreement.

What they're saying: Republican Sen. Julia Coleman, a co-sponsor of the amendment, said her own experience preparing for twins in 2021 inspired the proposal.

  • "As I talked to other growing families and my friends and peers, they [said]... 'I'm gonna have to take another mortgage out of my house just to buy the products to bring my baby home from the hospital,'" she said.
  • "Anything we can do to make those products more affordable for growing families is a worthwhile effort."

By the numbers: If signed into law, eligible purchases would be exempt from the state sales tax rate of 6.875%, plus any added local or metro-wide taxes.

Zoom in: Items covered by the change include baby wipes, cribs and bassinets, along with their mattresses and sheets, changing tables and pads strollers, car seats and car seat bases, baby swings, bottle sterilizers and infant eating utensils.

Of note: Diapers and baby clothing, along with breast pumps, baby bottles, pacifiers, teething rings and infant syringes and medicine are already exempt.

Zoom out: While diapers are exempt in 15 states, sales taxes in most other places do apply to baby gear, a researcher with the National Conference of State Legislatures told Axios.

  • Connecticut and Maryland have exceptions for car seats. Lawmakers in Florida and Ohio, meanwhile, are considering proposals similar to the one headed for law in Minnesota.

What's next: The Legislature is on track to give final approval to the change by May 22.

  • If passed, the provision would take effect on June 30.
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