Gov. Dayton’s proposal ‘A Budget for a Better … Wisconsin’

By Rep. Ernie Leidiger, District 47AGovernor Dayton last week unveiled his budget proposal that pulls the rug out from under the middle class and small business owners who are simply trying to make a go of it in Minnesota. It is what I like to call “A Budget for a Better Wisconsin,” because neighboring states with friendlier tax climates sure look a lot more attractive after reading the governor’s plan to kill jobs and empty wallets through misguided tax increases.
Instead of fixing what doesn’t work, Gov. Dayton plans on making government bigger than ever and adding a historic $3.7 billion in taxes, most to be paid for by folks like you and me.
A total of $2.1 billion in tax revenue will be raised from an expanded sales tax on pretty much every good and service imaginable. And guess who is going to be hardest hit? Not the “rich” or the “Top 2 %.” No, it’s going to be the middle class and small business owners.
• Does your hand-me-down car need a tune-up? Auto repairs are taxed.
• Sick? Aspirin, cold medicine, and any other over-the-counter drugs are taxed.
• Getting married? The wedding dress and hair services are taxed.
• Need to buy your kids winter coats? Any clothing item over $100 is taxed.
• Need to make a will or get tax help? Legal and accounting services are taxed.
• Do your college-aged children need to buy textbooks online? Online purchases and digital downloads are taxed.
• Smoke? The cigarette tax is increased by nearly $1 per pack.
• Own a business? Business-to-business transaction sales are taxed.
Look at it this way: a hardworking middle class family will not only have diminished take-home pay because of higher social security taxes, but they will also have to dig deeper in their pockets for everyday items and services. All the while, they’re feeding their money into a system to pay for a property tax rebate “up to $500” for every Minnesotan, including millionaires in the Twin Cities.
Sure, households that make over $250,000 (the “rich”) will be taxed more, but that only accounts for $1.1 billion of this plan. The middle class will pay $2.1 billion, just so Gov. Dayton can have a bigger government.
That’s why neighboring states like Wisconsin and the Dakotas are very excited. These are states that have learned you cannot tax and spend your way to sustainable growth and prosperity; tax increases don’t close budget deficits and are not a substitute for economic growth.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has already responded by saying his state is “Open for Business” and that he might “put a little bit more of a push” to lure Minnesota companies across the border. And even before Gov. Dayton’s proposal, the South Dakota governor was running radio ads calling for Minnesota businesses to relocate: “Leave the taxes behind. Come to South Dakota where you can make a profit and keep it.”
When Republicans ran the Legislature over the last two years, we always said “live-within-our-means!” We made sure government spending didn’t exceed the growth of the economy. As a result, we decreased the biggest deficit in Minnesota history and refilled our reserves, all without raising taxes. And the data shows that more businesses are growing and more people are working.
On the other hand, Gov. Dayton’s plan veers us sharply off the path to success. It favors a bigger government over the well being of Minnesotans’ financial security and independence. And that is why this is “A Budget for a Better Wisconsin.”
I’d like to hear from you. Do you think the Governor’s plan is the right direction for Minnesota?
Contact me at rep.ernie.leigider@house.mn or by phone at (651) 296-4282.

  • Irene Dzarnoski

    Ernie,

    I agree wholeheartedly with what you said. Please continue to fight for smaller government and control of spending. Most of us grew up knowing that you cannot spend money you don’t have. Government should do the same, and that doesn’t mean taxing people to death.

    Thank you for all you do for the right things.

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