New Emmer plan for server tips: Make them tax free

Published 12:49 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ST. PAUL — The latest twist in Republican Tom Emmer’s tangle with restaurant server tips is a proposal to eliminate income taxes on some tipped wages.

The Minnesota gubernatorial candidate pitched a plan Tuesday to exempt from taxes the first $20,000 in tips that hospitality industry employees collect. He would also extend new tax breaks to restaurant owners on equipment and meals they give to workers.

Last week, Emmer caught fire for saying Minnesota needs a so-called tip credit, which allows businesses to pay workers less than the minimum wage if they earn tips.

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Emmer has issued multiple clarifications of his comments. He will convene a meeting with servers on Wednesday at a Mexican restaurant and even spent a night waiting tables at the same restaurant. A member of the family that owns the restaurant has donated to his gubernatorial campaign.