Here’s wishing you and yours a safe and happy Fourth of July!
We have some outstanding holiday celebrations taking place in the area this week and I’ll be out and about taking in as many as time allows. As a businessman and Lions Club member, I will be quite busy helping to organize the Delano parade. I also plan on running in the local 5,000-meter road race. The Annandale parade also is a local highlight and should make for a good time.
I'm sure that many of you are very busy this summer, particularly for the July Fourth weekend. Much like you, I will stop and reflect the true meaning of Independence Day and the sacrifice our founding fathers made by declaring their independence from a tyrannical government so we could ALL have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Unfortunately, it is human nature for many of us to forget how great we have it here in America and that God has shed every grace on us. The displays of pride in our nation on the Fourth of July are always great sites to see.
On another note, today is the day the much of the $2.1 billion in tax increases and hundreds of millions more in fee increases enacted by Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democrats in the Legislature this year take effect.
I staunchly opposed these tax increases, many of which will be paid by virtually all Minnesotans, even the lowest earners. The huge tax hike on cigarettes, for example, is extremely regressive and will hit low-income citizens the hardest.
Here are some notable changes:
The new 9.85 percent rate on the state’s high-income earners impacts:
Taxes on a pack of cigarettes rose by $1.60 (from the current $1.23 to $2.83).
Vikings stadium bail-out tax
Part of the revenue from the first year of the cigarette tax increase will be used to help make up for the fact e-pulltabs are not generating the amount of revenue necessary to pay for the state's portion of a new Vikings stadium.
Internet purchase tax
A sales tax also has been added for online purchases such as ringtone downloads, music, videos, books and online computer games.
Businesses will have to pay new sales taxes on warehousing and storage (not including mini-storage); electronic and commercial equipment repair and maintenance; and through repealing the current sales tax exemption on telecommunications equipment purchases.
New fee increases are added to driver’s licenses and vehicle registration.
· The option of a $5 wheelage tax has been expanded to include all 87 counties in Minnesota, with the amount increased to $10 in 2014 followed by up to $20 beginning in 2018.
· New law also increases a flat amount charged for some older model collector vehicles (from $90 to $150).
· Starting in 2017, fees for new vehicle titles will increase from $6.25 to $8.25, while a $5.50 title transfer fee is eliminated.
· The filing fee for a new or renewed driver’s license or state identification card is increased from $5 to $8.
Click here to find more information on these tax increases, along with all the other laws that went into effect July 1.
All my best for the Fourth,