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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

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Efforts Harming Hardworking Taxpayers Continue in St. Paul

Monday, May 6, 2013

The legislature took several huge steps again this week that will slow our economic recovery, kill jobs, and take more money out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers.

HF92, a bill that raises the state’s minimum wage by 54% from $6.15 to $9.50 per hour, was passed by the House on Friday and will greatly impact our state’s restaurant, hotel and retail industries. Such a large increase so quickly could put many of our area mom and pop shops, restaurants, stores and other retail out of businesses. This isn’t the right time for such a bill, as most minimum wage workers right now receive the federal rate of $7.25 or higher, and a significant portion of those workers also receive tips (like servers). Young people also make up a huge portion of minimum wage workers, including those seasonal and summer workers trying to pay for school, etc. These workers are forced out of jobs under this bill because businesses will have less to work with and will look to workers with more experience and higher skills.

The $9.50 rate for large businesses under this bill would make Minnesota the highest wage state in the nation, all while businesses and families will face a slew of new tax increases under the Democrats Tax Omnibus bill. State government shouldn’t be taking with one hand to “give back” with the other.

The economic impact isn’t debatable: telling businesses to pay millions more in wages leads to less work or higher prices. The hospitality and retail industries have not yet fully recovered from the great recession we just faced, and this move will hit them head on.

More alarming, the House may soon take up a bill to unionize our state’s at-home child care providers. You may have heard about this in the past, as it has been pushed by Democrats and Governor Dayton for several years with no success. While there is virtually no support for this, union leaders in St. Paul and Washington would like to grow their revenue through higher day care rates that would flow to their coffers. This controversial legislation would establish a “statewide unit for all family child care providers.” Any licensed or unlicensed child care provider who has received a state subsidy in the past year would be eligible to vote on the collective bargaining unit, and even those who opt out of the union will be forced to pay a “fair share” union due rate of 85 percent. This bill prioritizes generating union revenue over the best interests of hard-working day care providers and families. According to those that filled out my legislative survey, over 84% in our district do not support this.

Finally the Senate and House tax bills have both been passed and are now being merged in a conference committee. This means that besides the new taxes on income, tobacco, alcohol, and products found in the House version, the clothing and personal services taxes in the Senate version may now be on the table. Together, Democrats plan to raise your taxes by $3 billion over the next two years to explode government spending. Our hardworking families and businesses simply cannot afford the reckless decisions being made at our State Capitol, and I regret to inform you it may get worse over the next two weeks.