To the editor:
It seems like taxpayer hits just keep coming this session. Billions of dollars in more taxes already have passed the House floor and up to three months still remain in the session.
The latest round of potential tax increases came in the passage of a tax bill Monday. The House Republicans submitted several amendments to improve the bill, but those additions were denied. We now must rely sustaining a likely veto from Gov. Pawlenty to protect our wallets from additional taxes.
While the national government has offered some breaks, tax relief is not in sight at the state level. The Minnesota House and Senate have raised taxes on everything – gas taxes, sales taxes, utility property taxes, mortgage and deed taxes.
National factors like the wobbly housing market and tightened credit have been contributing factors, along with rising energy costs. Raising the mortgage and deed taxes does not provide a solution, it only makes things worse.
Only one year after having a $2.2 billion budget surplus, Minnesota now faces a $935 million budget deficit. The biggest factor in turning our surplus into a deficit is state government spending grew by $3 billion. We spent our entire surplus – and a billion dollars more – and taxpayers didn’t get a single break along the way. We should be focused on balancing the books, not raising taxes in an already tight economy.
Some legislators are selling the recently passed transportation bill as property tax relief, but there was nothing in this bill that guarantees your taxes will be lowered.
Things should get even more interesting in the coming days when the bonding bill is brought to the House floor; initial reports show we’ll be overspending by more than $162 million.