When Are Taxes High Enough?

When I was elected to the state Senate in 2010, serving in 2011-12, I went in with a set of ideals: limited, more responsible government and having government live within its means.

To frame this correctly, be reminded that the state was facing a nearly $5 billion deficit, and companies large and small were tightening their belts. They were re-organizing and resizing to remain competitive. Employees were asked to take pay and/or benefit cuts, hopefully temporary, to help the company survive. Many lost jobs.

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The "Retire in Minnesota Act" (RIMA) Hearing on Wed. Jan 28th!

There is some good news early this session for Senior Minnesota Taxpayers.  Right there are bills in the House and the Senate, which propose to reduce and eventually remove Minnesota taxes on Social Security payments.   

Minnesota's tax on Social Security makes us less competitive neighboring states and, pushes recipients to leave our state in search of a home where their hard earned retirement savings will go farther.   


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November Forecast-Governor Dayton announces that the State raked in an extra $1billion from Minnesota’s families.

Today the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) announced that the state amassed $1.037 billion more from Minnesota families than is projected to be spent in the 2016-17 biennium.  This amounts to an extra 2.6% of the state’s $39,371 billion revenue.

This expected state government windfall is the result of overtaxing the state’s residents in 2013-14.  

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Who pays cigarette taxes? Hint: it’s not just Smokers.

In the debate at Hamline University, there was an interesting exchange between Republican Candidate Jeff Johnson and Governor Mark Dayton.

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2014 Taxpayers League Scorecard puts fiscal responsibility (and the lack of it) on display.

You can download a copy of the 2014 Scorecard here. 

This year’s scorecard is the Taxpayer’s League’s 18th annual edition.  The scorecard features more high scoring legislators, which is good, although it’s a pattern we’ve seen in election years.  In all, 21 legislators are featured on our cover with a breakdown as follows: 

  • 5 legislators were named “Best Friend of the Taxpayer.” (4 House members and 1 Senator)
  • 16 legislators were named “Friend of the Taxpayer.” (10 House members and 6 Senators)

A “Best Friend of the Taxpayer” award is given to legislators who scored 100% on the scorecard of that year AND signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. A “Friend of the Taxpayer” awardee  scored 100% on the Scorecard.

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Lifetime Scores of the candidates for August 12 Primary

These are the lifetime scores as of the 2013 scorecard.  The 2014 Scorecard will be out soon.  See the chart below.

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The Governor and the Legislature raised taxes…and you won't believe what happened next!

The news about medical device giant Medtronic participating in a merger of sorts rocked the Twin Cities over the weekend.  All protestations by the company and the Dayton administration to the contrary, their corporate move to Dublin, Ireland, which will doubtless have an impact on their giant footprint in the twin cities and will also mean the loss of corporate tax revenue.  The statements about Medtronic “making investments” in technology over the next 10 years should be taken for what they are, attempts to paper over what is going to be a period of transition while Medtronic consolidates a new, more international identity.   Suddenly the tax policies of one state don’t matter except to the politicians who were counting on the revenues.

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Action Alert : North Suburban Communications Commission seeks 82% increase in cable bill fees in new 10-year Franchise Agreement

The current North Suburban Communications Commission (NSCC) proposal has focused on securing even more money for operations.  A Commission proposal to raise fees in the 10 member cities from $4.15 to $7.57 per customer/per month for the next 10 years is being discussed by your city councils in the next few weeks.  These fees are in addition to the 5% of subscriber’s bills that is federally mandated. Yes, these fees go to “cable access” for broadcasting local government meetings and community events.  We applaud that these proceedings are openly available to citizens without their having to attend, but in the age of YouTube and UStream and with Satellite (which does not have to pay franchise fees) why are fees growing 82% for this service? 

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How did you celebrate Tax Freedom Day?

Yes, today is Tax Freedom day in Minnesota, the day that you can stop working for the state and federal government and start working for yourself.  Minnesota’s Tax Freedom day is the 5th latest state tax freedom day in the country. 

 The Tax Freedom Days of neighboring states are:

  • South Dakota, April 4th (ranked 3rd earliest nationally).
  • Iowa, April 13th (ranked 19th earliest nationally);
  • North Dakota, April 25th (ranked 9th latest nationally); and
  • Wisconsin, April 22nd (ranked 13th latest nationally);


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What we told legislators who asked: HF 1777

Screen_Shot_2014-03-24_at_12.15.41_AM.pngWe get it all the time. “How are you going to score this vote?” This time it was the bill which included “tax conformity” making state tax policy square with federal tax policy so that Minnesotans paying taxes next month don’t find themselves with higher tax burdens due to credits and other provisions yanked out in last year’s Taxapalooza Bill HF 677.  This is the infamous bill that not only removed credits important to families like the adoption tax credit but also gave us the warehouse tax, other business to business taxes and also the strikingly lavish $90M Senate Office building.

HF 1777 repealed some of those onerous taxes and will lift some of the pain on individuals, businesses and families. Is it enough? No. But it is a start.


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