Small-business owners, who would undoubtedly suffer from Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed tax increases, were in the House chamber as the governor delivered his State of the State Address Wednesday.
I was pleased to be joined in the House by special guests John and Dee Forbes, who own Heartthrob Exhaust, Inc., of Litchfield. One component in Dayton’s plan to increase taxes by $3.7 billion includes a business-to-business tax. State officials estimate the governor’s proposed taxes would cost our businesses $1.5 billion in 2015 alone.
This would damage companies like the Forbes’ and put our state at a further disadvantage in the competitive marketplace. The same day Dayton delivered his speech, a prominent headline on Page 1 of the Pioneer Press read: “Dayton tax plan has a fan – in Wisconsin.” The article indicated a Wisconsin lawmaker sent a letter to Minnesota business owners, urging them to relocate across the border.
Concern from small-business owners all across the state was voiced during a roundtable discussion prior to Dayton’s speech. It was a group of mainly everyday people trying to make a successful living, not exactly the picture Dayton painted in our minds when he focused on making the “rich” pay more in taxes.
Dayton has moved from his “tax the rich” campaign rhetoric to a tax-everyone plan.
With Democrats controlling the House and the Senate, our new state budget could include many of the tax increases the governor is proposing. People championing tax increases continue to say middle-class Minnesotans would not pay more under the governor’s plan. That is simply wrong. We cannot raise state taxes and spending to record levels and expect the “rich” will be the only ones impacted.
It was interesting how, in his State of the State speech, the governor acknowledged policies championed by Republican majorities the last two years are delivering positive results for Minnesota. We have 72,000 more jobs, we dramatically improved our state’s bottom line and paid back the entire K-12 funding shift from 2011.
Our state’s economy is growing at 3 percent, yet the governor proposes raising taxes by billions to fund state spending growth of 7.6 percent. This would threaten to undo much of the progress he noted in his speech. Making middle-class citizens – and even the poorest Minnesotans – pay more taxes to feed government’s never-ending appetite for spending is the wrong approach.
The positive in all this is at least Dayton is offering ideas – even if many are misguided – that will get budget discussions moving.