Hello from St. Paul, where another week is almost in the books and only four full weeks remain before we are scheduled to adjourn.
One of the big projects on the agenda is a supplemental tax bill to help our state adjust to massive tax changes recently enacted at the federal level. The House soon will put out its proposal and, even though the details are not fully in place, expect our plan to be dramatically different from what the governor is trying to sell.
The governor’s own Department of Revenue studied the governor’s budget proposal and reports that it would raise taxes on Minnesotans of every income level, and make Minnesota's tax code more regressive.
What’s worse is the report shows that households making less than $32,000 would be hit hardest. In total, it would make Minnesota's tax code more regressive in nature. Governor Dayton has proposed reinstating more than $1 billion in health care tax increases, repealing tax reductions enacted last session, and numerous changes reacting to tax changes at the federal level.
It’s amazing how the governor tries to convince people that he only wants to “tax the rich” while his very own agency paints a much different picture.
On another subject, the Minnesota Supreme Court sided with counties and taxpayers this week when it issued a positive ruling allowing counties to contract with private accounting firms to conduct their required audits.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto had sued multiple counties to protect her monopoly on conducting audits, but the court upheld the constitutionality of freedom for counties to shop the private market for their professional accounting services. It’s a win for local control and for the taxpayers, even though Otto cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to cover both prosecuting and defending this case.
The provision Otto was challenging was enacted into law as part of the 2015 State Government Finance Bill, which received significant bipartisan support and was signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Lastly, liberals in the Legislature have lined up a parade of anti-gun bills at the Capitol, but so far we have been successful in holding them off. The thing is, we now have reached the point in the legislative session where these bills that fortunately have not gained traction could be offered up as amendments to larger omnibus packages.
I will continue monitoring the situation as closely as possible to oppose proposals to compromise our Second Amendment rights. I also will do my best to get out the word if something comes up, but please know we could be dealing with such short notice that it’s all but impossible for me to send notice. Citizens are encouraged to keep their eye on the ball with me in case we need to come together to support our Second Amendment.