OPINION: Who's sorry now?
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:32 AM
Now that the 2013 legislative session has concluded, there may be a lot of Minnesota voters who are sorry now. Sorry about how they voted or maybe sorry that they didn't vote. Just like the words of that 1958 hit record sung by Connie Francis, "Who's Sorry Now?"
Many voters who went to the polls last November didn't truly know the individual for whom they voted. Perhaps they voted by party label, or maybe they voted based on a key issue or it could have been a campaign ad. But as the saying goes, "Elections have consequences!"
Upon review of this year's legislative actions, these words certainly ring true. Most Minnesotans had no concept of what would happen to their liberties, their livelihood or their wallets once this group of legislators gathered in St. Paul last January.
By the time the Democrat controlled Legislature adjourned in May, they had raised taxes by over $2 billion and increased state general fund spending by $3 billion or more than 8 percent.
They also increased the state's debt by $175 million and failed to deliver on their promise to re-pay the K-12 school shift.
Many voters supported the Democrats in November because of a belief they would erase the school payment delay. With the session now concluded, despite the $2 billion tax increase, there was no change in the school re-payment plan. Who's sorry now?
Another charge leveled against Republicans in the fall elections was budget mismanagement.
The fact is our state budget problems were caused by a Democrat controlled legislature the previous four years.
By the time Republicans gained the majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate in 2011 there was a $5 billion budget hole left by the Democrats.
Despite the liberals' claims of budget cuts, the reality is that state general fund spending increased by $8 billion over the previous 10 years, about 30 percent.
The absence of a balance of power allowed them to grow state government by over 8 percent. In the last four months, the Democrats rush to grow government pales in comparison to anything that has occurred in the last twenty years. Who's sorry now?
The Democrats whopping tax increase will move Minnesota's income tax rate to the fourth highest in the nation with the new fourth tier rate of 9.85 percent, starting at $150,000 of income for individuals.
In their Tax Bill, sales taxes are added to Internet purchases as well as satellite subscribers and commercial warehouse fees.
Cigarette smokers will get hammered with an added $1.60 per pack, and businesses with foreign operating income will pay more in state taxes.
Gov. Dayton's promise from last year not to use general tax dollars to pay for the new billion-dollar Vikings stadium went up in smoke with the use of cigarette taxes as a back-up plan to pay for the facility.
In addition to this private business subsidy, tens of millions more in taxpayer dollars will be given to other private businesses like 3M, the Mall of America and Baxter International.
Let's not forget, we will all be paying more for electricity because of mandates on electric companies imposed by DFL legislators.
Then of course there is the legislation that calls for the unionization of independent day care providers and personal care attendants, which in turn will drive up childcare and health care costs. Who's sorry now?
But it's not only what Democrat legislators were able to pile on already over-burdened Minnesotans taxpayers this year, but what they have on deck for next year.
Despite the enormous tax increases that did become law this year, DFL legislators still have an entire laundry list of taxes and regulatory items that they didn't pass this year.
Taxes they proposed but didn't enact this year include a sales tax on clothing, increased taxes on alcohol as well as higher gas taxes. Also left on the sideline was a 4 percent income tax surcharge.
And last but certainly not the least is Gov. Dayton's "snow bird" tax, which would make anyone who resides in Minnesota for more than 60 days pay state income taxes.
The voters who are sorry now about supporting the Democrats could include thousands of people, but a list would certainly include small-business owners, daycare providers, farmers, smokers, Internet shoppers and electricity consumers.
Due to the Democrats' massive tax increases, virtually everyone will pay more in taxes as well as more for most goods and services. Few, if any, will escape the tax impact of the 2013 legislature's actions!
Just like the lyrics in the song state: "Right to the end just like a friend, I tried to warn you somehow; you had your way, now you must pay."
Who's sorry now? Thousands of hard working Minnesotans.
Phil Krinkie, a former eight-term Republican state rep from Lino Lakes, is president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.