Leidiger: The Democrats’ plan: Borrow, tax and spend

As we face a flurry of spring snowstorms, I’d like to give you some good news and say the DFL-led State Legislature is accomplishing good, accountable work on behalf of the people of Minnesota. But with Democrats in complete control at the State Capitol, all we see is a flurry of new ways to grab your money and spend it in wasteful ways.
With the economy on the upswing and more revenue coming into St. Paul than projected, Minnesota Democrats are content on finding new ways in their omnibus bills to not only spend this extra money, but also take $2.6 billion in new taxes and hundreds of millions in new fees out of the pocketbooks of hardworking Minnesotans.
It’s difficult to understand the rationale behind treating the general fund like a treasure trove, creating new taxes, and growing government at a time when it’s completely and wholly unnecessary. I think a recent editorial by the St. Paul Pioneer Press best sums up this “spend-too-fast approach to budgeting”:
“Instead of counting their blessings — in particular, rising revenue after years of weakness — lawmakers keep counting ways to raise taxes. Instead of being content with the bounty of an improving economy, they keep trying to take more from it.” (April 14, 2013)
The month our taxes are due provides an opportune time to take a look at how Democrats plan to spend your money, grow government four times faster than the economy, and make Minnesota #1 in taxes:
BONDING: Before producing a balanced budget, House Democrats announced their plan to borrow and spend nearly $1 billion in taxpayer money.
During a non-bonding year, DFLers want to pay for and prioritize pet projects around the state. Minnesota already has $3 billion in debt from dozens of bonding projects that are still waiting in the pipeline, and here they are heaping more on the pile.
ENVIRONMENT: This bill wastefully spends hardworking taxpayer money on programs that they do not want or need. If you use city water, own a permitted well or lake cabin, want to paint or re-carpet your home, or just want to change the batteries in your remote control, prepare to have more money taken out of your wallet.
TRANSPORTATION: Public outcry has caused House Democrats to dramatically scale back their major transportation tax proposals. Mind you, we’re not out of the woods yet. A lot can change before this and other bills head to the Governor for his signature.
K-12 EDUCATION: The House DFL’s K-12 Education bill builds on some of the reforms and per pupil increases that Republicans instituted over the last two years. Ultimately, though, the bill prioritizes bureaucracy over students.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Even with $2.4 billion in new taxes, House Democrats are cutting Health and Human Services (HHS) by $150 million, and they’re taxing hospitals, and ultimately patients, to pay for it. They’re also increasing our dependence on federal money and providing unstable and unsustainable funding sources for our nursing homes.
Meanwhile, Democrats are padding union coffers and unionizing new industries (like child care business owners and personal care attendants); prioritizing massive gun control; and planning to redefine marriage.
Any time one of these controversial bills is considered in committee, House Democrats hide away in a basement hearing room with poor recording devices and without a television recording system. Talk about transparency.
Folks, you can’t make this up. What about any of this is reasonable, accountable, responsible and sustainable?
Our focus should be on creating an efficient, effective government, not expensive government. We simply cannot keep making promises with money we don’t have.
Just remember: when you’re asked to fork over “a few bucks more,” ask what you’re getting for your money. Is it quality and necessary? Or is it spending for the sake of (wasteful) spending?

Representative Leidger can be reached by phone at (651) 296-4282 or via e-mail at rep.ernie.leidiger@house.mn.

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