Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category
At the start of this session, I said that the DFL would sail through because Alida Messinger would give them their marching orders. When Gov. Dayton introduced his bill, businesses far and wide criticized it for imposing a sales tax on transactions between businesses and lawyers, accountants and other service providers. When the House DFL introduced their tax bill, it was criticized for imposing a gigantic, disastrous income tax increase, raising the top income tax rate from 7.85% to 12.49%. It’s difficult to imagine how the Senate DFL’s tax bill could be worse.
Difficult but no longer impossible:
Democrats in the state Senate released a plan today that increases income taxes on wealthiest 6 percent of Minnesotans, raises the sales tax on clothing and services, and increases the cigarette tax.
Republicans don’t like it and even some Democrats in competitive districts are uneasy about the taxes and spending. But DFL leaders say the $1.8 billion dollar tax increase is needed to erase the state’s budget deficit and increase spending for schools and property tax relief.
It’s incredible that the Senate DFL took the worst part of Gov. Dayton’s tax proposal, the sales tax increase on services, watered down the worst part of the House DFL’s tax increase, then added their own terrible wrinkle by raising income taxes on the middle class.
While Senate DFL leaders praise the bill as good tax policy, some of their rank-and-file members remain apprehensive about it.
“This is going to be a hard one for me to support,” said first-term DFL Sen. Melisa Franzen. Franzen, who represents the swing district of Edina, Minnetonka and Bloomington, worries the bill could harm the state’s business climate.
“If the cost of doing business in Minnesota is going to rise and small business is going to be impacted, that is something that I have to take into account,” Franzen said.
Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, worries about the income tax portion of the bill, but said he thinks many of his constituents could live with it since the bulk of the extra spending is dedicated to education.
“There certainly are people out there that say ‘no new taxes.’ Whenever they see a tax they don’t support that,” Clausen said. “But I think there is also a group of people who recognize that there are needs in our state.”
First, Sen. Rest is wrong that the Senate bill is “good tax policy.” It isn’t good tax policy raising the cigarette tax because it’ll significantly hurt convenience stores while cutting cigarette tax revenues without reducing smoking.
Hurting retailers and Minnesota’s general fund while doing nothing to tamp down smoking is a nasty negative trifecta of tax policy.
Second, there’s no way the cost of doing business in Minnesota doesn’t increase. Businesses will get hit with higher income taxes & higher business costs thanks to the sales taxes on services. That’s before talking about how the cigarette tax increase will hurt convenience store sales.
If the DFL doesn’t pull its act together quickly, they’ll find lots of complaints on the campaign trail next year.
This Strib/DFL hit piece is what I’ve been expecting considering the infighting between Ann Lenczewski and Tom Bakk over their tax increase bills. Here’s the lede in Neal St. Anthony’s Strib article:
Regardless, businesspeople aren’t united on these issues. Case in point: Even “United for Jobs” members are lobbying for increased funding for their favorite causes or to retain their tax breaks.
And not every businessperson opposes a tax hike if Dayton can make the case.
“An increase in the marginal income tax rate would have no affect on our business or whether to expand,” said Harvey Zuckman, 62, executive vice president and an owner of Minneapolis-based FirstTech, who also is president of the Twin Cities Metro Independent Business Alliance.
“Our hiring decisions are based on consumer demand and revenue. I put the question to our MetroIBA members and a number had a similar response.”
By St. Anthony’s standards, anything short of unanimity of opinion equals division within the anti-tax increase ranks. It didn’t occur to St. Anthony that there are lots of disagreements within the business community. Apparently, St. Anthony isn’t too sharp on DFL tax increase history. Apparently, St. Anthony doesn’t know about this DFL tax increase disaster. Similarly, St. Anthony isn’t aware of Gene Pelowski’s opposition to Rep. Lenczewski’s 2009 ‘tax reform’ legislation:
Pelowski said lawmakers won’t have enough votes to override a Pawlenty veto of a DFL tax plan, and said the proposals are a “fiction” that will force lawmakers to scramble to craft another budget proposal after Pawlenty’s veto. “We have to do what is real and not go through an exercise of what-ifs,” Pelowski said. “There are no what-ifs. There is only the stark reality of this budget deficit.”
This year’s fight within the DFL on the differing tax increase proposals isn’t something unanticipated. Here’s a post I wrote about the infighting within the DFL over Rep. Lenczewski’s ‘tax reform’ proposal from 2009:
“This bill proposes the most significant tax overhaul in 20 years,” said the bill’s chief author Rep. Ann Lenczeswki, DFL-Bloomington.
In addition to the tax hikes, Lenczewski’s bill removes a variety of tax breaks for homeowners and businesses. Charitable contributions, the mortgage interest tax deduction and the property tax deduction for homeowners are eliminated and replaced with a tax credit based on income. The bill also eliminates several business tax breaks, like the Research and Development credit and parts of the governor’s JOBZ program.
Lenczewski said she wants to clean up the state’s tax code. “Which is to sweep the tax code clean of all of the preferential treatment and subsidies and things we can’t afford anymore and instead bring a fairer, more progressive income tax to Minnesotans based on the ability to pay,” she said.
Here’s Sen. Bakk’s response to Rep. Lenczewski’s proposed tax increase:
Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said eliminating the current mortgage interest deduction could hurt Minnesota’s high rate of home ownership and higher alcohol taxes would drive some liquor shoppers across the Wisconsin border.
Simply put, the DFL has been split on which taxes should get increased for years. The notion that the business community is hopelessly split in its opposition to Gov. Dayton’s tax increases is DFL spin.
Convenience store operators think that raising the cigarette tax will hurt their retail outlets. What’s more, they can verify the fact that the DFL’s cigarette tax increase will hurt their businesses.
With regards to the Dayton/DFL income tax increase on “the rich”, Teresa Bohnen really has talked with 4 different companies who will likely expand their companies in other states:
St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce President Teresa Bohen says she’s recently talked with four local companies who say they may have to transfer their investments to other states, if the Governor’s plan goes through.
Most important in this is whether the Dayton-DFL tax increases will hurt Minnesota’s economy, strengthen Minnesota’s economy or cause Minnesota’s economy to tread water, gaining a little hear, hurting a little there.
What’s most likely to happen as a result of the Dayton-DFL tax increase is that convenience stores will get hurt, some businesses that were started in Minnesota will expand in other states while other businesses won’t be affected by the tax increases. In other words, the best Minnesota should hope for from the Dayton-DFL tax increase is for Minnesota’s economy to continue treading water.
That’s unacceptable. Then again, that’s what doesn’t get reported when the Strib writes articles that could pass for DFL press releases.
Tags: Ann Lenczewski, Tax Reform, Tom Bakk, Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction, Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Cigarette Tax, Liquor Tax, Unemployment, Economic Stagnation, Outmigration, Convenience Stores, Gene Pelowski, DFL, Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce Small Businesses, Capitalism
Whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, the House DFL’s tax plan will raise everyone’s taxes, with the exception of Baxter Healthcare Corp. Here’s the House DFL tax plan:
Minnesota House Democrats are looking to fetch $2.5 billion by raising taxes on people with high incomes, those who smoke and those who drink alcohol. A tax package released Monday boosts those taxes to balance the budget, cut property taxes and increase school aid.
Including a temporary surcharge on top earners, Minnesota would carry the nation’s third highest tax rate.
In other words, the House DFL’s plan would raise everyone’s taxes. Gov. Dayton and the DFL frequently fight, at least verbally, for a more progressive tax system. In reality, the DFL fights for raising taxes, whether they’re progressive or regressive.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL frequently complain that “the rich aren’t paying their fair share.” If they truly believe that, why did the House DFL make cigarette and liquor tax increases a central part of their tax bill? House Speaker Paul Thissen says alcohol and cigarette tax allows the state to recoup the health effects, etc. caused by alcohol and tobacco.
What Thissen isn’t talking about is the verifiable fact that raising those taxes a) loses money for the state’s general fund, b) hurts small businesses like convenience stores and c) creates an underground economy.
QUESTION TO SPEAKER THISSEN: Why pass a tax increase that hurts small businesses and will create a revenue shortfall?
Then there’s the DFL’s plan to raise income taxes on “the rich who aren’t paying their fair share.” The top rate, including the DFL’s surcharge, will be 12.49%. Those companies just got hit with a barrage of federal tax increases, including the employer mandate tax increase and the tax increase on health insurance policies.
QUESTIONS FOR SPEAKER THISSEN: Do you think these companies will just continue to let you tax away their profits? Why does the DFL insist on tax increases, knowing that the DFL’s tax increase will lead to companies leaving Minnesota?
St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce President Teresa Bohnen says she’s recently talked with four local companies who say they may have to transfer their investments to other states if the Governor’s plan goes through.
Speaker Thissen can’t resist raising taxes even though he knows the DFL’s tax increases will hurt Minnesota’s economy. That’s because ideology is more important to the DFL than creating a flourishing economy.
The DFL’s policy of raising taxes on everyone will undermine Minnesota’s recovering economy. The DFL’s plan to raise tax rates to unprecedented and unjustifiable levels is, at minimum, counterproductive. At most, it’s foolish. Unfortunately, most of the DFL’s tax policies will become law. The good news is that these tax increases will inspire people to vote the DFL out of office in 2014.
MN2020, the progressive think tank run by former DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza, is defending Gov. Dayton’s budget:
Minnesota 2020, a progressive think tank that defends Minnesota’s tradition of higher taxes and higher spending, has released a new report suggesting those raw figures are seriously misleading.
Adjust for inflation and the ups and downs in state general fund spending caused by accounting shifts and federal stimulus funding in previous budget cycles and the numbers show a different picture: $40.6 billion in spending in 2002-03, $35.4 billion in the current budget, $35.7 billion in the upcoming budget if Dayton gets his way, and $37 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars for 2016-17.
Even if the governor, who wants to raise income taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans to support higher spending, is able to enact his entire budget, less than a third of the real-dollar cuts of the past decade would be restored, said Jeff Van Wychen, director of tax policy for Minnesota 2020.
“These cuts are eroding Minnesota’s fiscal foundation and they need to be reversed,” said Van Wychen during a press conference in St. Peter, one of three held by the organization in southern Minnesota Tuesday.
Van Wychen’s alarmist rhetoric should be ignored. When Andy Aplikowski wrote this post, he highlighted the DFL’s habit of saying one thing, then doing another. Here’s the Pi-Press article Andy highlighted:
Following a hush-hush courtship, top Minnesota lawmakers acknowledged Tuesday, April 16, that they are compiling a multimillion-dollar package of public subsidies and tax breaks to encourage an Illinois-based pharmaceutical firm to add 200 high-paying jobs and undertake a substantial construction project in their state.
The extent of the public offerings is becoming known months into a high-level recruitment. The name of the company, Baxter Healthcare Corp., had been constrained by a confidentiality agreement entered into by Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. Even lawmakers who have begun voting on the package didn’t know which firm would benefit.
In other words, the Dayton administration is fine with cutting taxes if they’re picking the winners and losers. This proves that the Dayton administration isn’t that worried with “the rich” paying “their fair share” as long as cutting taxes on corporations creates jobs. The DFL won’t admit that they’d be better off cutting taxes across the board and letting companies flourish.
Whether it’s the DFL or their political allies like MN2020, they simply won’t admit that they’re hurting Minnesota’s economy with their high tax, high regulation economic agenda.
This is yet another admission that the DFL’s legislative agenda doesn’t lead to creating jobs. The only time the DFL’s economic agenda creates jobs is when they throw their legislation out the window.
Van Wychen’s talk about inflation-adjusted budget figures quietly avoids talking about the money that’s appropriated that’s totally wasted on foolishness. It’s a clever tactic to ignore a real problem by talking about something that isn’t a problem. Inflation-adjusted budgets assume, incorrectly, that a) government operations can’t and haven’t been improved and b) every penny appropriated in 2002 was spent efficiently.
It’s foolish to think that every penny of any biennial budget was spent on something we need and was spent efficiently. That’s like believing that businesses can’t grow without the government’s assistance.
The bottom line on these discussions is that a) the Dayton administration just admitted that his economic policies don’t work and b) budgets should be based on spending money efficiently on the things we need, not what special interests want. On that count, the DFL is 0-for-2.
Don Davis’ post about the DFL’s budget is enlightening. There isn’t any doubt that the DFL wants to raise taxes. The question is which taxes they want to raise and how much they’d raise taxes by. Then there’s the question about getting the House to agree with the Senate and the legislature to agree with Gov. Dayton.
There’s still no doubt in my mind that it’ll get ironed out. Similarly, there’s no doubt that the DFL’s tax increases will stunt job growth. There’s no doubt that some businesses will expand outside of Minnesota rather than in Minnesota.
Bill Glahn thinks that the DFL will pass a budget on time. That said, he thinks it’ll need fixing:
The budget will be passed before the “end” of session. Even if they have to cover up the clock to pretend midnight has not passed, even if they have to come back and fix it in special session.
The budget and much else will be passed at the last second, with bare partisan majorities, in massive bills that no single human being will have read all the way through before they are signed into law.
It will all be hailed as a once-in-a-generation political triumph. Until…months later…when someone gets around to reading the bills passed…and we all wonder: now what?
The thing isn’t only about the confusion within the DFL, though that’s certainly part of the problem. The biggest problem is that the DFL doesn’t have a pro-growth economic agenda. The DFL’s hostility towards businesses is getting noticed by businesses. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce gets that. Here’s part of what Jason Bernick, a member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce said recently:
I’ve often heard Governor Dayton say that “you’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” I have a great deal of respect for Governor Dayton as he has always been a good listener who has maintained a respectful discussion. However, since the beginning of this session, I have noticed this quality has been degrading and becoming disrespectful in Governor Dayton.
Teresa Bohnen, the president of the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, has talked with 4 companies who are thinking of expanding. During Gov. Dayton’s townhall meeting, she spoke out against the jobs that would be lost if the legislature creates a fourth tier of income taxes. She said that these businesses might expand elsewhere if the legislature passes that higher income tax tier. Gov. Dayton, like the DFL legislature, doesn’t take these warning signs seriously.
In the end, the omnibus spending bills will be significantly bigger than those passed by the GOP legislature. The Tax Bill will include some major increases, some of which will hurt convenience stores. That isn’t the right path to prosperity.
Thus far, this legislative session is best known for the DFL’s plan to kill jobs, confiscate guns, debate gay marriage, increase Minnesota’s minimum wage and raise taxes on people that create jobs. Now it’s possible that they’ll get known for raising their pay. Here’s Gov. Dayton’s logic for raising politicians’ and bureaucrats’ pay:
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has said he supports increasing lawmaker salaries and those of commissioners as a way to keep high-caliber managers from bolting to the private sector.
First, I’d be thrilled if I saw a Dayton administration commissioner who was worthy of getting a pay raise. Second, the whole notion is that I’d rather have the private sector having the best people because that’s the only place where wealth is created.
The Dayton administration is filled with hardline progressive ideologues. I certainly don’t want to increase their pay. As for raising legislators’ pay, I’m not totally opposed to the idea, though I’m opposed to this bunch getting a pay increase. If the DFL continues to oppose pro-growth policies, then these legislators shouldn’t get a pay raise. If the DFL continues supporting policies that hurt the private sector, these legislators shouldn’t get a pay raise.
I’m thinking specifically about the DFL’s support for the cigarette tax, which will hurt convenience stores while also hurting the state treasury. Every time that cigarette taxes are increased, revenues from cigarette taxes shrink because more people change their buying habits. Rather than going to a convenience store, smokers buy their cigarettes at a casino or from an underground dealer. Other options for smokers include buying cigarettes via the internet or by driving into North Dakota or Wisconsin.
Until the DFL stops proposing their radical tax increases, the pay increases shouldn’t go anywhere. If the DFL insists on killing Minnesota’s economy, the pay raises shouldn’t be considered. People shouldn’t get pay raises for doing a mediocre job. Right now, that’s what this administration and the DFL legislature is doing.
The DFL’s Debt Bill, aka the bonding bill, is filled with foolish spending proposals. It’s an insult to Minnesota’s taxpayers that spends money on outright pork. Here’s the first example that caught my attention:
Subd. 3. Central Lakes College, Staples
Agriculture Reconfiguration and Main Building Renovation $3,458,000
To complete the design of and to renovate, furnish, and equip Staples main campus spaces for science, technology, and math initiatives, agriculture, and energy programs, and to replace HVAC systems.
That’s insulting. There’s another Central Lakes Community College campus in Brainerd. There’s also an online CLCC campus. It’s likely that online campuses will largely replace brick-and-mortar campuses within a decade. If that’s true, taxpayers will still be making the payments on this renovation after the buildings, and perhaps the entire Staples campus, is a part of history. Having people make interest payments on something that’s obsolete is the definition of stupidity. Here’s another definition of stupidity:
Subd. 4. Metropolitan State University Science Education Center Construction $31,000,000
To complete design and to construct, furnish, and equip the science education center on the campus of Metropolitan State University.
Which campus would this building be built on? Would it be built on the St. Paul Campus? Or the Minneapolis Campus? Might it be built on the Midway Campus? All that I’m certain of is that it wouldn’t be built on the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center campus.
Why are politicians putting these burdens on taxpayers when they should be revamping and consolidating these campuses? To spend tons of money on 34 colleges inhabiting 53 campuses is fiscally irresponsible. For those keeping track at home, that’s 35,000,000 spent on 2 projects. Here’s another set of projects that shouldn’t be approved:
Subd. 11. Systemwide energy renovation and additions $3,700,000
To design, renovate, demolish, construct, furnish, and equip space for workforce training and programs for energy and sustainable development. This appropriation may be used at the following campuses:
Anoka Technical College; Century College; Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Canby and Jackson; and Northeast Higher Education District, Itasca Community College.
It’s best to think of this spending as pork. Buying into the green energy economy is a total waste of money. It’s spending money on something that’s failed repeatedly. The green energy economy is based almost entirely on whether you’ve been a productive fundraiser for President Obama. It isn’t based on finding what’s the most efficient and least costly forms of energy.
This global appropriation is especially disturbing:
Subd. 4. State Trails Development $16,215,000
Are these projects that important? The argument is that it’s ‘a quality of life issue’. The truth is that it’s a pork issue. It isn’t enough that interest rates are low. It’s that these projects are a waste of money. Another argument is that these projects create jobs. I’d argue that they create more debt than jobs. I’d further argue that there’s better ways of creating these trails than by spending state money on them, then adding interest payments to the projects.
Finally, it’s insulting to hear the DFL call these bills jobs bills. There’s no such thing as a jobs bill. You can’t create longlasting jobs without creating wealth and capital. The DFL’s premise is that jobs are created by government spending money on things that don’t create wealth. That’s the premise that President Obama used in putting the stimulus together. We know that that failed. Why would we think that using the same premise on a smaller scale will create jobs?
There’s ample proof that the DFL’s mindset is to raise taxes, then figure out whether their legislation has negative consequences. This article is proof of that:
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has said snowbirds aren’t paying their fair share and he has come up with a proposal that has been dubbed “the snowbird tax.”
“We go in the summertime, we have family there,” said Valley resident Jim Jewett. Although a job forced him to trade snow for sunshine, they often spend a couple months a year in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” “We just completed plans to build there, a seasonal home,” Jewett said.
Right now, only those who spend six months or more in Minnesota have to pay income taxes, but if Dayton has his way, that would change to those who spend 60 days or more in the state. “The first reaction I think most people have when they hear of a new tax is, ‘Here’s a way for the government to get more money because they’re running short,’” Jewett said.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue said this proposal would raise $15 million a year and that it’s a matter of fairness.
“The tax applies seemingly to people who are retired, primarily, or have seasonal homes there, fixed incomes. It’s another tap on that income,” Jewett said.
Business attorney Jonathan Frutkin said whenever tax laws change, people react, causing some snowbirds to fly the coop. “Minnesota would give you a credit for the amount you paid in Arizona taxes, but because the Minnesota rate is basically double that in Arizona, the result would be you are paying twice as much than if the law were to stay the same,” Frutkin said.
Jewett said if this passes, he might have to rethink his investment. “Go to Minnesota and just stay in a resort or cabin or something and not have a place any longer,” Jewett said.
Think of this as another DFL tax increase that would hurt Minnesota. Further, this isn’t a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of stupidity. In fact, it might be a constitutional matter.
This isn’t the first time the Dayton/DFL tax increase proposals would have a negative impact on Minnesotans. Gov. Dayton’s proposed sales tax increase would’ve taxed kids babysitting their neighbor’s kids and kids shovelling snow and mowing lawns:
REP. ZELLERS: But if I pay him every month $20 or $100, is that going to be or is he going to have to start collecting sales tax and remitting it to the State of Minnesota?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: …He probably would. If it was a monthly charge, then there likely would be a sales tax charge.
REP. ZELLERS: So then someone mowing my lawn, someone shovelling snow for me during the winter time or a babysitter?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: Those services would generally all be covered by the sales tax.
Gov. Dayton’s tax increase proposals will hurt retirees and young people trying to make money. That’s the definition of counterproductive tax policy. It’s true that Gov. Dayton has since taken his sales tax increase proposal off the table. Still, the thought that Gov. Dayton would propose this legislation without thinking through the details first is frightening.
Now we’re seeing that habit played out again. Gov. Dayton’s snowbird tax proposal would hurt Minnesotans by causing retirees to stay in Arizona and other warm-climate states. Gov. Dayton’s cigarette tax increase proposal would hurt convenience stores by increasing the size of the cigarette underground economy.
The truth is that Gov. Dayton’s tax increase proposals will hurt people, will drive people to other states or expand underground economies. That isn’t budgeting for a Better Minnesota. That’s a budget to diminish prosperity in Minnesota. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll touch on that in another post later today.
Each week, different proof appears that the DFL is intent on eliminating the GOP’s reforms. Months ago, I wrote about the DFL’s attack on teacher accountability, aka HF0171. HF0171 would repeal the basic skills test for teachers that Gov. Dayton signed last year. This week, I wrote about the DFL’s attempt to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission.
If the DFL would put forward a good faith effort on reforming government, the Commission would be a great tool for increasing government accountability. In some instances, the Commission would force agencies to justify their existence. In other cases, it would force the agency to justify their staffing and funding levels.
First, why won’t the DFL explain who wrote the bill that would eliminate the basic skills test for teachers? Requiring teachers and applicants to pass such a test isn’t revolutionary. It’s sensible. Why, then, did the DFL write legislation that would eliminate that requirement? They aren’t doing it “for the children” because they’re the first people it’d shortchange. Their parents and other taxpayers are the next people this legislation would shortchange.
It isn’t a stretch to think that EdMinn wrote this legislation because it’s their job to protect union members. If EdMinn wrote that legislation, why isn’t Rep. Ward representing his constituents, not EdMinn? Perhaps Rep. Ward thinks that EdMinn is his constituent and that he doesn’t have to represent the people living in his district.
Second, why is the DFL insisting on eliminating a great tool for increasing government accountability and transparency? Without the Sunset Commission, government oversight doesn’t exist. As recently as last year, the DFL threw a hissy fit when Republicans sought to make government more efficient. They accused the GOP of “waging war against working families.” Eliot Seide held a press availability in which he got exceptionally agitated.
He talked about how Republicans hated “working families” because they questioned whether state agencies, commissions, councils and panels had outlived their usefulness or had expanded themselves beyond their original charter. The Commission’s purpose was to examine these entities, then tell the legislature whether they were still doing what they were created to do and whether that mission was still important.
We know that the DFL doesn’t believe in oversight because they rejected that notion in 2007. That’s when they insisted that spending should be adjusted for inflation. In the DFL’s thinking, once an appropriation is made, it should increase by the rate of inflation in the future.
Another GOP reform required the Minnesota Department of Revenue to factor federal taxes into their annual tax incidence report. Minnesota is one of a tiny handful of states that didn’t do that. Gov. Dayton signed that legislation into law. Now he’s signed it out of existence after the DFL legislature voted to repeal that requirement.
This year’s report had been prepared but it hadn’t been released. That report included federal taxes. The DFL moved quickly, eliminating the federal taxes requirement. The new tax incidence report doesn’t include federal taxes. First, the new report doesn’t give an accurate picture of Minnesota’s taxes. Second, it means that all the time that went into preparing the first report was for nothing.
Is that the type of government efficiency Minnesotans deserve? I’d argue it isn’t. I’d argue that that’s the type of waste that must be eliminated.
While we’re on the subject of taxes, let’s talk about the fact that the DFL isn’t committed to a progressive tax system. I’ll stipulate that they’re great advocates of progressive taxation during campaigns. That’s as far as it goes, though. Then-Candidate Dayton argued passionately for a more progressive taxation system during his campaign. In 2010, he criticized Tom Horner for supporting increases to the alcohol and cigarette taxes:
you’re in favor of raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, another regressive tax. So the difference between us is I want to raise taxes on the rich, and you want to raise taxes on sportsmen and women and and middle income working families.
This year, Gov. Dayton’s objections to increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes disappeared, most likely because he needs the revenues to increase the size and intrusiveness of state government.
Tags: Mark Dayton, Tax Incidence Report, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Tax Increases, Cigarette Tax, Liquor Tax, Tom Horner, K-12 Education, John Ward, Education Minnesota, DFL, Sunset Advisory Commission, King Banaian, Keith Downey, Pat Garofalo, Accountability, Reforms, MNGOP
It isn’t shocking to think that DFL politicians love overbloated government. Annually, they reflexively propose raising taxes. They love spending the taxpayers’ money on their political allies, too. Protecting union employees is one of their specialties. Two years ago, Gov. Dayton and the DFL threw a collective hissy fit when Keith Downey introduced his 15 by 2015 legislation. From that point forward, every union official seemingly started their sentences with “the Republicans’ war on working families.”
The first bill King Banaian submitted as a legislator was a bill that created the Sunset Advisory Commission. A miracle happened when Phyllis Kahn announced her support for King’s bill. After ending the government shutdown he created, Gov. Dayton signed King’s bill into law.
With the DFL back controlling the legislature and with Gov. Dayton still in office, they’re thinking about eliminating the Sunset Advisory Commission:
A budget bill in the Democratic-led House would get rid of the Minnesota Sunset Advisory Commission. The panel was created two years ago when Republicans were in charge. They touted it as a way to weed out government offices some people deem ineffective.
The commission met about a dozen times over the last couple of years and didn’t recommend cutting any government entities altogether. It did press for further reviews of some boards, including one that regulates combative sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.
The push to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission is in a broad budget bill that funds core government agencies.
It isn’t irony. It’s predictable. The DFL legislature, both Sen. Bakk and then-Minority Leader Thissen, used their picks to load up the panel with politicians like Matt Entenza. In short, their picks were people who wanted to undermine the law rather than work in good faith on protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers.
Here’s language from King’s bill:
Sunset Commission. Provides that the Sunset Commission consists of 12 members appointed as follows:
(1) four senators appointed according to the rules of the senate, with no more than three senators from the majority caucus;
(2) four members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, with no more than three of the house members from the majority caucus;
(3) four members appointed by the governor.
All members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. With respect to governor appointees, provides two-year terms expiring in January of each odd-numbered year. Provides term limits for service on the commission.
Staff. Requires the Legislative Coordinating Commission to provide staff and administrative services for the commission.
Rules. Authorizes the commission to adopt rules to carry out this chapter.
Agency report to commission. Provides that before September 1 of the odd-numbered year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the agency commissioner shall report specified information to the commission. The September 1 deadline does not apply in 2011.
Commission duties. Requires that before January 1 of the year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must review the agency based on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Public hearings. Requires that before February 1 of the year an agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must conduct public hearings regarding the agency, including the criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Commission report. Requires that by February 1 of each even-numbered year, the commission shall report on agencies subject to review, including findings on criteria specified in section 3D.10.
Criteria for review. Specifies criteria for the commission to consider in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or for performance of the agency’s functions.
Recommendations. Requires the commission’s report to make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency; on consolidation, transfer, or reorganization of programs within agencies not under review when programs duplicate functions of agencies under review; and for improvement of operations.
Requires the commission to submit draft legislation to carry out its recommendations, including legislation necessary to continue the existence of agencies that would otherwise sunset, if the commission recommends continuation of an agency.
Simply put, the bill requires the Commission to review whether the agency is performing an essential function, whether it’s doing what it was originally created to do or whether it’s ‘evolved’ into just another bloated part of state government.
The DFL’s disgust with governmental accountability is showing its ugly face. Taxpayers should be outraged that the DFL is thinking about eliminating a tool that’s designed to increase governmental accountability. If the DFL eliminates this commission, Republicans should make this one of their campaign themes in 2014. Hold every DFL legislator’s feet to the fire for voting against governmental accountability and thriftiness.
If they’re eliminating sensible laws like this, then they’re undoubtedly voting for creating more unaccountable agencies, boards, commissions and panels.