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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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State revenue coming in short

Thursday, June 19, 2014

To the editor,

 

It is disappointing that after years of positive economic reports the state has now seen four straight months of revenue falling beneath projections.

 

We Republicans inherited a $6 billion shortfall in 2011. We erased that shortfall and the choices we made led to a $1.2 billion surplus just last year. And, here we are today, with a $4 billion spending increase, a hike of $2 billion in taxes and fees … and a faltering budget to show for it.

 

We’ve been here before. We had a surplus back in the “Jesse” years and I urged fellow lawmakers to be wise with that money; the boomerang is bound to come back and we should be prepared. Focus our money on roads, bridges and education.

 

Sure enough, the 2008 recession hit and we’ve been on an economic roller coaster ever since. But, instead of being smart with taxpayer dollars, we’re frivolously spending money while our local highways need repair.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Wise fiscal decisions can put us on a more steady path but, unfortunately, one-party rule in St. Paul has raised spending by unprecedented amounts and raised our taxes to – not quite – pay for it.

 

Tax increases do have consequences and the recent announcement that Medtronic will shift its taxable operations to Ireland should be a wake-up call. This would be the largest U.S. company moving off our shores to seek tax shelter. Is it a canary in the coal mine?

 

Gov. Mark Dayton says Minnesota’s tax rates are not a reason for Medtronic relocating. Give him the benefit of the doubt, but we’re wearing California Chrome’s blinders if we think businesses will stay here just for our great parks. The U.S. corporate tax rate is near 40 percent. Ireland’s is 12.5 percent.

 

On a final note, please, do what you can to support local businesses. The rainy weather of late has shrunken their already short season.

 

Sincerely,

Rep. Bud Nornes

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