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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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The Gov's false set of choices

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
By Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen The governor and his party are presenting a set of false choices to sell citizens on their plan to raise our taxes and outspend our state’s available revenue. Their sales pitch forces us to choose between two options: Do you want to raise taxes on the richest 2 percent, or do you want the sky to come crashing down on Minnesota? It’s like a car salesman saying, “Buy this car, or walk home.” How about a third option? We could call someone for a ride home from the dealership. We also could use innovation and fiscal responsibility to support our state’s priorities. The minority party recently sent a mass email to area residents, perpetuating this myth of false choices and distortions. I am sure the objective was to paint me in a bad light, but it also included a roundabout insult of our local public officials. The assertion that our property taxes will automatically rise unless we make our top earners pay more is a slap in the face of local officials throughout our area. I find it downright disrespectful to those who serve in local government for us to assume they would rubber-stamp property-tax increases unless we make our job creators pay more. Our local officials are smart people who plan ahead and are able to make fiscally responsible decisions without indiscriminately putting a larger burden our hard-working citizens. Furthermore, LGA will remain the same in our district as in the last biennium, so it is false to imply that taxes will go up in each of these jurisdictions. No matter how many times people like the aforementioned emailer and the Democrats misrepresent the facts, the budget we sent the governor is the largest in state history at $34 billion. If we are spending $32 billion this biennium, $34 billion should be enough for the next two years. Isn’t a 6-percent increase in spending enough? Dayton proposes an unrealistic 12.5 percent (an additional $2 billion) increase in government spending at a time when our private-sector economy is in a fragile recovery. Deep down, I wish that we were proposing a reduction in state spending for the next biennium, or even a plan to keep our spending level flat. But the reality is it takes time to reverse a decades-old trend of excessive government spending. For now, I will settle for a more reasonable 6-percent growth which allows us to fund our priorities without raising taxes and outspending our revenue. This third option makes the Democrats’ false set of choices moot. -30-
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