For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
Last week, Governor Dayton proposed his budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. I’m deeply concerned that this budget will only grow the size of government at the expense of hard-working taxpayers, hurt middle class families, and render Minnesota’s business climate less competitive.
The budget the governor put forward calls for a $37.9 billion in state spending! This is a 7.6% increase in spending and an 11.9% increase in taxes, which amounts to $3.7 billion in tax increases with only $225 million in cuts. That is one dollar in cuts for every sixteen dollars of tax increases! This is hardly a balanced approach. When Minnesota families are tightening their own budgets, I strongly believe government should be doing the same and should not be asking for more from taxpayers. The growth of state government has simply become unsustainable. I’m also disappointed Governor Dayton’s budget plan did not mention anything about comprehensive public pension reform especially given the recent report revealing over $16 billion in unfunded liabilities. I will be following the work of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement and plan to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to identify solutions to this multi-billion dollar problem.
I’m also troubled by the $2.1 billion of new sales tax proposed on goods and consumer services. The Governor proposes taxing clothing over $100, gym club memberships, over-the-counter drugs, swimming lessons, haircuts, legal services, accounting services, travel services, and auto repairs – just to mention a few. As a former general manager of the Dayton’s store in St. Paul, I understand the impact of sales tax on clothing on retailers’ bottom lines. Such a tax would lead to retailers having to lay off employees or worse yet – to close their store. I do not want the pending closing of the downtown St. Paul Macy’s to be the canary in the coal mine to a business climate in Minnesota under this budget.
Governor Dayton’s proposal to raise income taxes by two percent on the top two percent of earners is also misguided and the wrong direction for Minnesota. This income tax hike will hurt small businesses registered as S-Corps or LLCs which file taxes through their individual tax returns. In Minnesota, ninety-two percent of businesses file through their individual returns. I was alarmed to learn that this tax will also disproportionally affect constituents in our district. Carver and Hennepin counties are ranked as the top two counties in the state hardest hit by this tax!
Many constituents have contacted me to share their concerns about Governor Dayton’s budget proposal. Some have said that they are giving serious consideration to making a move to another state or retiring all together to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This is not good news and will not put our state on a path to prosperity. I take these concerns very seriously and plan to follow the budget proposal very closely as it moves through the legislative process. I will continue to keep you updated.
Last Tuesday, I was honored to stand with thousands of Minnesota citizens speaking out for life at the Capitol and was thrilled to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who believe in the sanctity of life. Thank you to the constituents who met with Senator Osmek, Representative Hertaus, and me after the event to share your thoughts on this important issue.
I want to thank those of you who have contacted me with your questions, comments, and concerns. As your representative, I want to hear from you. If you have any ideas for proposed legislation specific to the committees on which I serve, I welcome your input. You can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-4315. Mail can be sent to Rep. Cindy Pugh, 313 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.
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Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you!