Reform to Tabs
This past weekend the city of Brooklyn park became the center of national media attention after a police officer mistakenly shot and killed a man during a traffic stop. The traffic stop was initiated over expired tax tabs on the vehicle. Under the law now we require an annual fee to be paid or face a fine through the DMV. Unlike real estate and income taxes, this property tax, if unpaid, is not collected administratively but by using public safety officers to issue tickets that carry fines in excess of the auto tax.
KIMT News Interview
The reality is this has become nothing more than a lucrative revenue stream for the government, by which they utilize our peace officers to collect tax dollars. Moreover, more than 600,000 Minnesota vehicles have expired tabs. By removing this as a primary offense, we can reduce the number of traffic stops our police have to make. Additionally, we can end this draconian policy of having our tax-funded officers enforcing tax collection on behalf of the state. Police do find other crimes when pulling people over for not paying their taxes, but the same could be said for pulling over rusty or old cars. It should also be noted that the DMV failed to send tabs to people on time, resulting in tickets being issued when the State was at fault.
Masks in Sports; Let Our kids Breath!
As a parent of a student-athlete, I have been incredibly frustrated by the Governor’s mask mandate for youth sports. This is a harmful policy that has no basis in science. Research by the CDC and World Health Organization show that there is little risk of COVID-19 transmission in young people. Both organizations have stated that making a child wear a mask while exercising is dangerous to their health.
This week the legislature voted again on ending the Governor’s Emergency powers, unsurprisingly it failed along party lines again. These mandates on our children have put them in harm's way over a virus they have an extremely low chance of contracting. Especially as the weather warms and more games take place outdoors, we cannot allow our children to compete while wearing a mask. This policy could pose devastating consequences during the summer heat. We learned on Thursday that the Minnesota State High School League sent their concerns about the mask mandate during outdoor competition to the Governor and MDH. It is time to end the youth sports mask mandate and let our kids breathe!
Omnibus Bill Week at the Capitol
Today the House will hear the Transportation omnibus bill. This bill is packed with $1.6 billion in tax increases including new fees for Tabs, a new automatic gas tax, and other increases for public transportation. I have long held that the practice of multi-subject bills is unconstitutional and every bill should be one subject; passing on the merits of the idea itself. Instead we have a heavily partisan process which pits one side against the other and encourages bad policy. The Democrat’s bill even includes a provision to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Other provisions increase transportation taxes by $1.6 billion over four years including:
- Automatic inflation tax increases adjusted annually on October 1.
- Increases the motor vehicle sales tax on vehicle purchases from the current 6.5-percent to the new 6.875-percent.
- Increases Metro Area sales tax .5-percent to raise over $916 million in new sales taxes to be spent on non-automobile transit within the seven-county metro.
Additionally during a marathon floor session, lasting in the 11 PM hour, we heard and passed the DFL state Government bill. This massive bill provides funding to a massive list of organizations and aims to provide some of the police reform changes the DFL is pushing.
Thursday this week, the Democrat majority passed their Housing omnibus bill. As a former landlord being able to ensure the availability of high quality, affordable housing is important to me. Unfortunately, the bill accomplishes zero toward addressing the factors causing homeownership to be unaffordable for too many families. Instead, provisions in the bill remove local control and further impose more government mandates. Nevertheless, I'm among the Republicans who are continuing to focus on finding solutions for the shortage of market-rate housing, the high cost of developing housing, and making it easier for Minnesotans to achieve the dream of owning their own home. Watch my comments on the Housing Omnibus bill below.
One Year Since the Fight Began
One year ago I stood on the house floor and argued against the shutdowns our Governor had placed on us. We were locked in our homes, arrested for being with family, and thousands forced out of work. We publicly shamed our neighbors or even complete strangers for not wearing masks, some even reported their neighbors to police for violating the orders. Somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to have empathy for our neighbors and fellow Minnesotans. Now one year under the same rules with vaccines in arms, and the rest of the country opening up, we still live in that same world. It's time to trust people to make the best decision for themselves and their families. We need to treat each other with the same kindness we are known for, not threats.