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Almost four months of work to pay for government is too much

Friday, May 2, 2014


By Rep. Joe McDonald


April 29 was Tax Freedom Day in Minnesota. You know, the day where taxpayers finally have made enough money to pay for government.


According to a report from the Tax Foundation, Minnesota Tax Freedom Day is the nation’s fifth latest. The only states that take longer – California, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey – are located on the coasts. For comparison's sake, Tax Freedom Day a century ago came Jan. 22, approximately three months earlier than in 2014.


On a related note, the Tax Foundation also ranks Minnesota’s business climate 47th. That is two spots worse than before more than Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democrats put more than $2 billion in new taxes on the books in our state last year. The Tax Foundation shows our corporate taxes (44th) and individual income taxes (47th) also rank among the nation’s highest.


Our poor tax rankings are, in part, a product of the Democrat Legislature passing into law the largest overall spending increase in Minnesota history last year. For the first time ever, Minnesota’s all-funds budget exceeds $70 billion. (This figure includes not only General Fund spending, but federal funds that flow through the state treasury and more.) That is a 13.8-percent increase in spending from the all-funds budget the former Republican majority passed for the 2012-13 biennium. It translates to an all-funds hike of $1,500 per man, woman and child in Minnesota.


To pay for the largest overall spending increase in state history, the Democrat budget contains the largest increase in state tax collections in history. Democrats imposed an additional tax burden of $2.1 billion on Minnesotans, it’s worth noting they also had an additional $3 billion in all-funds tax revenue without raising taxes. That $3 billion could have been used on tax reductions, but they found other ways to spend it.


Some of this spending in the current biennium also creates significant long-term obligations. This gives us reason to pause even further when Democrats pass things like:


  • $90 million commitment to build a new Senate office complex
  • $150 million to set up Obamacare in Minnesota (including $9 million for Paul Bunyan ads)
  • $37 million for capital costs related to preliminary work on the Southwest Corridor light rail line.
  • $9.8 million to bail out the St. Paul Rivercentre
  • $1 million for state climate center for bullying prevention.


Spending has continued in this, a non-budget session. The House recently passed a bill that spends another $1 billion over the next three years. On top of that, the chair of the Capital Investment Committee has multiple bonding proposals introduced, including some as high as $1.3 billion. We haven't seen the final proposal at this point, so we’re still waiting to review that.


With all this excessive spending, you can’t help but wonder if someday there will not be enough months in the year for us to reach Tax Freedom Day at all.



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