Of course we were.
Over the last two years, we can see that the policies Republicans and Gov. Dayton put in place worked. We allowed Minnesota’s economy to grow and create jobs. That $5 billion budget deficit we faced in 2011 took a dramatic turnaround and grew into a more-than $3 billion budget surplus. What was once a 7.5-percent unemployment rate is now at 5.3 percent. Just last year, 55,000 new jobs were created and 60,000 Minnesotans took a risk and worked hard to start their own business. And the best news is, Minnesota’s economy continues to improve and revenues continue to come in higher than projected.
The Democrats have chosen a dramatically different approach. This session will be remembered as the year Democrats used their one-party control at the Capitol to pass historic tax increases, raise state spending to never-before-seen levels and focus on divisive social issues. As a result, the final tax bill for Minnesotans includes $2.1 billion in new tax burdens. With these increases, Minnesota will become the fourth-most taxed state in the union. Included in these new taxes is a business services tax and…
Mom & Pop Shop Tax, New 4th tier tax: $1.12 billion by increasing income tax on top bracket by 25 percent, including small businesses. This makes Minnesota’s income tax rate the second-highest in the nation for comparative income.
Cigarette Tax: $408 million from increase of $1.60/pack (from $1.23 to $2.83).
Sales and Gift Tax: $137 million by expanding sales tax to services like warehousing and storage, IT services and telecommunications and gift tax.
Everyone pays more for necessities: Groceries like bread, milk, gas, and medical products due to warehousing tax, electric bills due to additional mandates on utility companies, health insurance due to new Insurance Exchange, new drivers’ licenses, vehicle registration, and vehicle title fees, farm equipment repairs due to new electronic and commercial repair services sales tax, and new internet purchases due to sales tax expansion.
These new taxes will be imposed on Minnesotans at a time when we are projected to enjoy an $856 million surplus in 2016-17 (before any tax increases). These taxes were imposed to increase spending by an unsustainable 8 percent.
This unprecedented growth in the budget will result in 1,300 new full-time state government jobs. Even before these new jobs are added, the Minnesota state government weighs in as the state’s largest employer with over 40,000 employees. I believe these new tax dollars would be better left in the private sector where they can be leveraged to create long term sustainable job growth for our state.
Perhaps the most heated floor discussion this session centered on a bill that leads to unionized child care providers and personal care assistants. I strongly opposed this legislation, along with the vast majority of providers themselves, newspaper editorial boards throughout Minnesota, and parents everywhere. Special interest groups, Gov. Dayton, and fellow Democrats in the Legislature were the primary drivers behind this push to treat private small business owners as state employees.