By State Rep. Ernie Leidiger
The legislative session is clipping along at a fast pace as Democrat leaders try to add as many laws and regulations to the books in a very short period of time. This week alone, they bailed out Obamacare by hundreds of millions of dollars and increased wasteful spending by nearly $1 billion — that’s your hard-earned money.
The feeling that permeates the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office is that Democrats are putting self-service before public service.
On their radar is a new, lavish $90 million Senate office building, generous pay and benefit increases for government workers, mandated solar panel lighting in railroad yards, free public transit rides on Election Day, and millions of more dollars to the Met Council.
Lacking in priorities is real tax reform, investment in the private economy, troubleshooting chaos and low-enrollment at MNsure (Minnesota’s extension of Obamacare), and funding critical road and bridge work. Moreover, they’re playing politics with much-needed wage increases for disability care providers.
Democrats are still patting themselves on the back for returning around $440 million of the state’s $1.2 billion surplus to the hardworking taxpayers who sent it to us in the first place. They’re calling them tax “cuts,” when in reality they’re giving back less than a fourth of the $2 billion in new taxes they took last year from Minnesotans’ pocketbooks. $1.7 billion in new taxes are still law.
One item of good news is that businesses will no longer have to consider closing their doors, cutting jobs, or hiking up consumer costs. The DFL majority finally listened to our advice and the pleas of small businesses owners and repealed the three business-to-business taxes they championed last year.
What’s more, many Minnesotans will be eligible for bigger tax refunds now that standard federal deductions and credits are available on state tax returns. The Department of Revenue has said it will contact Minnesotans who have already filed their taxes and are eligible for a bigger refund.
At the end of the day, much more needs to be done to allow Minnesotans to keep their hard-earned money and to level the playing field for businesses competing with tax-friendly states.
There is still ample time this session—and room in the budget—to make real tax relief a reality. But, it all depends on what the Democrat majority is willing to prioritize.
So far, it doesn’t look promising.
Be assured I will continue to respect and stand up for you, the hardworking families of our great state.
Rep. Leidger can be reached by phone at (651) 296-4282. He can also be contacted via e-mail at [email protected], or via U.S. Mail at 317 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155. Leidiger also encourages constituents to sign up for his email updates at www.house.mn/47a.