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Setting the record straight on Gov’s tax increases, vaccine rollout

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


By Rep. Joe McDonald 

A recent letter to the editor by Lani Brown-Worley pledged support for the governor’s plan to raise our taxes by $1.7 billion and asked me to do the same. 

The governor is selling this plan as making the “rich” pay their “fair share” but there is more to the story than the governor – or the letter writer – is letting on. 

The Minnesota Department of Revenue’s own numbers confirm that corporate taxes result in increased taxes on low- and middle-income families, with 43% falling on Minnesota consumers through higher prices, 43% on other state consumers/employees, and 5% on employees (layoffs, wage reductions, reduction of hours, etc). Put another way: corporate tax increases fall only 9% on the company (owners/shareholders) and 91% on consumers and employees.

In addition, the governor’s plan also raises regressive taxes (including on cigarettes and vaping products), impacting lower earners the most. Overall, $941 million in the governor’s $1.7 billion tax increase are regressive taxes that will impact Minnesotans of every income level.

So, once again, the notion that average, everyday working Minnesotans would not be impacted by the governor’s “tax the rich” strategy simply is not true. Besides, during these challenging economic times, the last thing the governor should be talking about is raising taxes on the very businesses he has shut down in recent months. Our economic recovery is going to be a difficult process on its own without the governor adding to the burden.

While a better picture of the state’s bottom line will be provided when the next full forecast is issued Feb. 26, the state has the resources to offset the modest shortfall that is anticipated without increasing taxes. We could tap into the state’s well-funded Rainy Day account. We also could ask the state to share the burden, as it should out of respect to taxpayers.

Minnesota already is a high-tax state, but the tax hikes put forward by Gov. Walz and Democrats would put our state in the top three nationally for both income and business tax rates. Let’s instead focus on reopening Minnesota for business so people can work, make a living and strengthen our state’s economy. 

Back in my first term as a member of the House, I was among members urging the new state budget be held under $34 billion. That was in 2011. The budget the governor proposes is $52.4 billion. This trajectory of state spending is unsustainable and should be rectified before we even think of turning to taxpayers – in any bracket – for more.

Regarding another recent letter to the editor, by DD Herding, it seems we are in full agreement that our state’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination has been rocky. The Walz administration has been under scrutiny for the slow distribution. I even co-authored a letter to the governor on behalf of Wright County schools indicating the state’s approach to providing COVID-19 vaccinations for school staff in Wright County has been frustrating, unfair, and inconsistent. 

I did find it objectionable for the letter writer to assert I have told people to “stay home and wear our masks.” This is a gross mischaracterization of my position. I have never, nor would I ever, say such a thing.  

To the contrary, I have been an outspoken advocate for safely re-opening our state for business and getting kids back to school. I recently offered a resolution on the House floor to end the governor’s emergency powers so the Legislature can participate in the process of getting our state up and running again.  

If you have questions regarding how to obtain a vaccine, I recommend visiting the “Vaccine Connector” website. The Vaccine Connector provides information about when, where, and how you can get the vaccine. Here is the link:


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