Greetings from the Capitol,
House Democrats issued their budget proposal for the new biennium this week, while controversial bills on transportation funding, daycare provider unionization and gun control advance through committees. Here is an overview:
HOUSE BUDGET: INCREASED TAXES, MORE SPENDING
The Democrats’ budget plan includes at least $39.3 billion in state spending and at least $2.4 billion in tax increases to help pay for it.
This huge tax increase is unnecessary. There is a $627 million projected shortfall for the next biennium, but the state’s anticipated revenue growth of $3.5 percent (around $1 billion) would more than compensate for that.
That means Democrats are looking to raise our taxes by $2.4 billion for a $627 million problem that, in all probability, will take care of itself as our economy continues to recover.
A key component in the Democrat budget is a “temporary” income tax added for top earners. This is on top of the income tax hike the governor is seeking and it would give Minnesota one of the nation’s top rates, at 11 percent or more. Here’s a link to a map showing income tax rates for all 50 states.
Even Senate DFLers and Gov. Mark Dayton gave this plan a chilly reception. It would undoubtedly leave consumers paying more, cost us jobs and make Minnesota less competitive in the global market. Where does it stop?
DAY CARE UNIONIZATION BILL ADVANCES
A bill to unionize owners of in-home daycare businesses has been expanded to include unionization of home health care workers. Home health workers would include adult children who receive state compensation for caring for their elderly relatives. Despite a recent survey which shows that more than 86 percent of daycare providers oppose forming a union, the bill's author, Rep. Atkins, is undeterred.
If you know of daycare providers who might be interested in receiving regular updates from my office regarding this bill, HF 950, please forward this email to them.
Legislation is being proposed in the House that would include the new 3/4 cent sales tax to pay for public transportation which the author, Rep. Hortman, said would include an emphasis on biking and walking investments. A total of $350 million would be raised by this tax in HF 1044. Other transportation funding proposals include a five-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase effective Oct 1, 2013 that would increase by another 4.5 cents by 2017. Also passed by the Transportation Finance committee was a statewide wheelage tax which all counties could opt into plus extending the sales tax to auto repairs.
SURVEY STILL OPEN
The legislative survey I am conducting remains available online and I kindly ask people to take a few moments to weigh in on the issues if they haven't already. Click here for the link.