Yesterday, the Governor released his budget proposal to the legislature for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The size and scope of the budget is quite alarming to me. This is a 7.6% increase in spending and an 11.9% increase in taxes from the current biennium to the next. The $3.7 billion in tax increases is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor.
When I reviewed the governor budget proposal, an image popped into my head. Picture two full wallets – one from North Dakota and one from Wisconsin – talking to each other about the nearly empty Minnesota wallet and laughing at its plight. That’s what I see when I think of Governor Dayton’s budget proposal.
Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about the governor’s budget. It’s going to hit middle class families hard. There is $3.7 billion in new tax increases. This is the largest tax increase ever proposed by a Minnesota governor. Of that $3.7 billion, $2.1 billion is from new sales taxes proposed on goods and services. Governor Dayton’s proposal would tax clothing over $100, athletic club memberships, over-the-counter drugs, digital download, online purchases, haircuts, legal services, accounting services, and auto repairs.
With the payroll tax going up, take home pay is already taking a hit. Under this budget, it’s going to be harder for parents to be able to get a haircut for their kids or buy them a new winter coat. I know that with my three growing kids, year-old winter coats just won’t do anymore. In this freezing weather, winter coats are a necessity and we should not be taxing them.
Raising taxes is not how we grow our way out of poverty. Under the Republican-controlled legislature from 2011-2012, we were able to balance the budget without raising taxes. This produced a $2.5 billion surplus for the current budget and a state employment rate that went from 6.8% in January of 2011 to 5.5% last December (seasonally adjusted).
The governor calls for “balance” but his $225 million in cuts to his $3.7 billion in new taxes is not a balanced approach. That’s like putting a 25 pound child on one side of the teeter totter and a 370 pound anvil on the other side and calling it balance!
I also want to take a moment and thank the thousands of Minnesotans, especially those from Douglas and Otter Tail counties, who came to the Capitol to stand for life. The 40-year anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is a tragic reminder of the 55 million who lost their lives because of this decision. You can be assured I will continue to be an advocate for life.
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I am always interested in your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at Rep.Mary.Franson@House.MN or contact my office at 651-296-3201. You can also send mail to my office address: 211 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.