Rep. Atkins proposed HF0857, a bill for an act “relating to public pensions” that will impose another regressive tax increase on all Minnesotans. Here’s the bill’s key language:
Sec. 2. [297I.07] SURCHARGE ON HOMEOWNERS AND AUTO POLICIES.
Subdivision 1. Surcharge on policies. (a) Each licensed insurer engaged in writing insurance shall collect a surcharge equal to $5 per calendar year for each policy issued or renewed during that calendar year for:
(1) homeowners insurance authorized in section 60A.06, subdivision 1, clause (1)(c); and (2) automobile insurance as defined in section 65B.14, subdivision 2.
Rep. Atkins’ submitted legislation will hit virtually every Minnesotan with a $5 surcharge, aka tax increase. Rep. Atkins’ legislation treats a symptom. It doesn’t fix the problem. This statement highlights the problem:
The 2010 Pension Reform Act includes provisions to increase vesting periods, increase employer and employee contribution rates, lower deferred interest rates for inactive members and lower refund interest rates. At the end of FY2010, the Minnesota State Retirement System, the Public Employees Retirement Association and the Teachers Retirement Association combined have lowered their unfunded liability by over $5.5 billion.
Too many of the public employee pension plans are defined benefit plans. They should be defined contribution plans. That change would dramatically shrink Minnesota’s unfunded pension liability.
Instead of fixing the problem, which would require political leadership, Rep. Atkins favors imposing another regressive tax increase on Minnesotans. This legislation is proof that the DFL’s insistance on fairer taxation is blather. The DFL, starting with Gov. Dayton and continuing through the DFL legislature, believes in all tax increases, not just progressive tax increases.
It’s time for the DFL to show the political courage that fixes problems, not treat symptoms. HF0857 isn’t a step in that direction.