By Mandy Heffron, Guest Columnist
Democrats promised to balance the state’s budget on the backs of the top 2 percent of wage earners in Minnesota. They claim that a tax on the “rich” only impacts a few people. However, after the Democrat-controlled Legislature enacted their tax-and-spend budget this year, Minnesotans are recognizing that Democrats’ claims and intentions were insincere.
Under the Democrats’ “balanced budget,” (tax-and-spend plan) everyone will pay more in higher sales taxes and fees. Gov. Dayton himself admitted the middle class will pay more under his tax-and-spend plan.
Increased sales taxes on television satellite services and digital downloads like iTunes or eBooks isn’t increasing taxes on the top 2 percent in Minnesota. Increasing taxes $1.62 per cigarette pack to fund a billionaire’s football stadium isn’t increasing taxes on the top 2 percent in Minnesota, it’s just the opposite. It hurts every Minnesotan.
Increasing estate taxes $78 million through imposing a new gift tax and restricting current law on qualified farms and small businesses isn’t taxing the top 2 percent of wage earners either; it’s burdening hardworking, rural farmers across Minnesota.
Furthermore, increased taxes on commercial warehousing storage and electronic/commercial equipment repair doesn’t tax only the top 2 percent in Minnesota. These taxes get passed on to consumers like you and me. Everyone in Minnesota is paying more under the Democrats’ tax-and-spend plan.
Democrats claim their tax-and-spend plan is balanced and avoids gimmicks. This is extremely misleading. Raising taxes by $2 billion is hardly a balanced approach when the projected shortfall was $627 million. Even their claim that they’ve reduced property taxes falls short of logic. With all the new taxes already in place, it’s like giving the Democrats a $20 bill under their tax-and-spend plan, and they give you a $1 bill in return as a refund. That sounds like budgeting gimmicks to me.
The state collects enough revenue from hardworking Minnesota families, small business owners and taxpayers. When the state spends more efficiently and less wastefully, there’s enough money for Minnesota to operate without record-setting tax increases.
Higher taxes hurt the economy and do not lead to a healthier economy. A better way to a strong, healthy Minnesota economy is to promote economic freedom and stop wasteful government spending. The Democrats specifically said they would not raise taxes on the majority of Minnesotans, just the top 2 percent. These campaign promises were used to win elections, but with this budget, we all pay more taxes and fees. We should hold them accountable for raising our taxes.
Businesses were hit hard after this legislative session. Can Minnesota afford to lose more businesses to neighboring states? Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota are open for business. The Democrats’ tax-and-spend policies are telling the nation and world that Minnesota isn’t open for business.
The 2014 election may seem far off, but it’s important to start thinking about it now. Can we continue to endure the insanity of high taxes and wasteful government spending? Elections have consequences. Minnesotans deserve better.
Mandy Heffron is the chair of the Morrison County GOP.