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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009
ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Watonwan County) said he was disappointed with plans unveiled by the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate this week that would raise taxes on nearly every resident in Minnesota. Torkelson said the Democrat’s approach takes the easy way out in trying to solve Minnesota’s projected $6.3 billion budget deficit “It’s a poor time to raise taxes,” Torkelson said. “But it’s the right time for government to tighten its belt and prioritize where our revenue should be spent. Overspending and a lack of priorities put us in this mess, government reform and some fiscal common sense might get us out of it.” Under the Democrat proposals, Torkelson said every Minnesota worker could expect to pay higher income taxes. They could also expect to see the price of a pack of cigarettes rise by 54 cents a pack, and would also be forced to pay more for their beer and wine as the liquor tax would also be increased. Their plans would turn citizens into tax collectors by imposing a tax on private sales of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles; would eliminate the home mortgage tax deduction; and repeal tax credits for K-12 education, long-term care, dependent care and employee health insurance. Torkelson said the Democrats would also remove Job Opportunity Business Zone (JOBZ) business development support for rural Minnesota, which has helped Brown, Redwood, and Watonwan counties retain and create hundreds of good paying jobs over the last several years. “It would really make more sense for the Democrats to propose legislation that would entice businesses to move to Minnesota as opposed to policies that will force them to leave,” Torkelson said. “The answer to our budget woes is putting more people to work, not forcing everyone to pay higher taxes.”