To the relief of many, Gov. Mark Dayton has abandoned some of the burdensome tax increases he proposed in his initial state budget plan.
Dayton recently issued a revised budget and announced he has backed down from expanding sales taxes to include services like haircuts and oil changes. The governor also eliminated from his plan a business-to-business sales tax which received resounding criticism.
Dayton’s revised budget still includes a spending increase of $2.7 billion over 2012-13. He proposes raising taxes by $1.8 billion. Tax increases the governor retained in his new plan include: $1.1 billion on the top 2 percent of earners, $30 million on snowbirds, $317 million on cigarettes, and a metro transit sales tax plan (which may increase from .25 to .5).
The governor still would not pay back delayed school funding and withdraws his initial budget’s proposal of repaying it in 2016-17.
Minnesota citizens, businesses, chambers of commerce and local governments let it be known to the governor how much they disapproved of his proposed increases. Tax increases have consequences and we cannot afford to damage our still-fragile economy. Minnesota families and businesses cannot take on an even larger burden.
There still are reasons for concern. It is up to the Legislature to draft the bills which ultimately will become the new state budget and the majorities are proposing to raise a wide variety of taxes, from gasoline to alcohol, snacks and more.
DAY CARE UNIONIZATION UPDATE
A proposal to unionize day care providers in Minnesota continues moving through the Legislature. Input I continue receiving from people in our area indicates the providers themselves are in strong opposition to this push, concerned it would lead to fewer choices for low-income parents, divert tax dollars into union coffers and lead to increased child care costs.
This is clearly a top-down effort by unions to take over another private-sector industry. Here is a video containing strong public testimony on this subject during a recent House committee meeting.
If you have too many “priorities,” you, in fact, may have none. The new House majority has introduced 2,800 bills so far this session, including legislating attacks on humans by cats. This bill total is top 10 in the nation and 41 percent more than Republican legislators offered at this point while in 2011 while in the majority. Senate Democrats have filed 74 percent more than their Republican predecessors in 2011.
I recently had very productive meetings with local judges Jeff Tenney and Kevin Tierney during a visit to the Wright county Courthouse. We had good discussions regarding the judicial system and I even shadowed Judge Tenney for a portion of the day. I learned a lot about the judicial system and the judges’ thoughts, ideas and concerns were quite informative and helpful.
I also met with Ridgeview Medical Center official Bob Stevens at the Waconia hospital. The feedback I received regarding concerns about the proposed health insurance exchange in Minnesota was beneficial. The exchange will be too expensive and do nothing to guarantee our health care will be better. I appreciate the time he – and the judges – took to share their perspectives with me. It makes me think of this quote by John F. Kennedy:
“The greater our knowledge increases, the more our ignorance unfolds.”
Have a blessed Holy Easter and Passover,