This week, Governor Dayton gave his State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature. I had the honor of bringing Dale Wills, owner of Centra Homes in Coon Rapids, as my guest to the event. I’ve heard from many business owners like Dale from our community who are concerned about Governor Dayton’s proposal to impose taxes on business incomes and business transactions.
It was surprising to hear the governor take credit for the success of the 2012-2013 budget after he signed it against his will. On the one hand, he bragged about how great Minnesota has been for the past two years under this budget, like the job growth and budget surplus, but then criticized the budget for focusing too much on spending cuts. Never mind that it was the biggest budget agreement to date!
I was disappointed that Governor Dayton claimed his budget had no gimmicks when he is punting paying down the school shift until 2017. Republicans passed a bill last session to pay down the shift completely, but the governor chose to veto it. I also noticed that the governor made no mention of his proposal to expand the sales tax to every day goods and services that would affect middle class Minnesotans. For instance, a bottle of children’s Tylenol is $6.99 at Target. Add Governor Dayton’s sales tax on top of that, that bottle becomes $7.39. Do you need an oil change? A $19.99 oil change becomes $21.14 with the 5.75% sales tax. Did you have a minor accident recently in this slippery weather? A $250 car repair will cost you $264.38 with the new sales tax. All of these things add up. Middle class Minnesota families cannot afford to pay more to grow the size of government.
Another significant concern of mine about Governor Dayton’s budget is that it would force upon the City of Andover $310,000 in additional spending due to 5.5% sales tax on services, plus the .25% metro sales tax increase. For instance, the governor’s proposal would require Andover to pay taxes to Anoka County for public safety services. In order to pay for this, the City of Andover would be forced to raise taxes on its residents – which would be the largest tax increase in the city’s history. The governor also wants to use this sales tax to pay for more commuter rail lines. Given the low rates of ridership for Northstar, investing more money in this is an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.
At a time when the legislature should be focusing on the budget and creating jobs, the DFL majority in the House held three days of hearings on gun control legislation. It was inspiring to see Minnesotans from across the state take time out of their busy lives to come show their support for Second Amendment rights. Because of the large number of Second Amendment supporters who came to St. Paul, the House had to open two overflow rooms to accommodate all the visitors. I was offended to hear that several of the DFL members who serve on the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee at one point got up and left the committee during the testimony from Second Amendment supporters. Our citizens deserve more respect than that. We know that infringing upon Second Amendment rights does not work – just look at Chicago. Please know I will continue to stand strong for our rights under the Second Amendment.
This week, the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee heard testimony relating to the implementation of the Obamacare health insurance exchange. Among my many deep concerns about this legislation is data privacy. I want to make sure our personal information – confidential health records, tax information, prescription, employer-employee records – are protected. At this point, there is nothing to stop such information from being shared with the federal government. Additionally, I’m disturbed by the cost this legislation will impose on families. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the average family plan would cost $15,700 under a typical workplace policy.
I am always interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Peggy.Scott@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-4231. You can also send me mail to my office address: 201 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.