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Opinion: Peppin Discusses Governor's Tax Plan, Bills Introduced

Peppin: "The Governor also proposes to increase taxes by an even greater degree on small business owners, top income earners, snowbirds, people who smoke, and consumers in the metro area."

The following was provided by Rep. Joyce Peppin (R 34A) in her March 18, 2013 email newsletter. Peppin represents a portion of Maple Grove and Rogers.

Dear Neighbors,

In this edition:

1) Governor’s New Budget: Increases Spending, Drops Some Taxes

The big news at the State Capitol last week was the release of Governor Dayton’s new budget proposal. To his credit, the Governor conceded that his business-to-business tax and expansion of the sales tax would have negative consequences on working families and stifle job growth and business expansion. He dropped both of those proposals in his updated budget.

While these proposals are gone from the Governor’s budget, some Democratic legislators have indicated that they may consider adding these taxes in their own separate budget scheduled to be released in coming weeks. 

Additionally, what has been often overlooked was the fact that Gov. Dayton wants to increase spending at a rate seven percent more than the current budget and over 150 percent greater than the growth of the economy.

The Governor also proposes to increase taxes by an even greater degree on small business owners, top income earners, snowbirds, people who smoke, and consumers in the metro area.

Every day, new tax bills are introduced in the Legislature, all of which would hit squarely in the pocketbooks of middle class Minnesotans and small business owners.

Here are a few examples:

  • Energy rate tax
  • Mortgage and deed tax
  • Alcohol tax (up 350 percent)
  • Auto insurance tax
  • Solar tax
  • Gas tax (up 10 cents per gallon)
  • Estate tax
  • Snack tax (nuts, seeds, popcorn, pretzels, chips, cookies, ice cream novelties)
  • Vehicle excise tax
  • Electricity surcharge tax
  • Frac sand tax
  • Health insurance premium tax (3.5 percent)
  • License plate tab fees (up $10)
  • Cosmetics tax
  • Wheelage tax (up $15)
  • Toll fee for the St. Croix River bridge

It is my hope that the final budget assembled by my Democratic colleagues will focus on the opportunity to control taxes and spending and continue Minnesota’s favorable economic growth.

2) Peppin Introduces Brockton Interchange Bill

Our district has been very fortunate in recent years to experience high levels of job creation and economic expansion, but our transit infrastructure needs an update in order to accommodate and promote future growth in Dayton, Rogers and Maple Grove.

Last week I introduced a bill (House File 1340) that would expedite and complete the Brockton Lane Interchange Project, specifically providing a full access point and additional traffic lanes along the 6.5-mile corridor between the Maple Grove Parkway exit and the Rogers exit on I-94.

This section is among the longest stretches of freeway without an exit in the entire metro area, which results in greater congestion and slower emergency response times.

It’s time to get this critical project underway, and I’d like to give special thanks for the hard work undertaken in previous years by former Dayton Mayor Doug Anderson, as well as city council members and staff in both Dayton and Rogers who have spent many hundreds of hours readying plans and communicating the importance of this project to both state and federal policymakers.

3) Peppin’s Contingency Planning Bill defeated in committee

Last week, Democratic lawmakers in the State Government Finance Committee defeated my bill that would have required state agencies to have a contingency plan should the federal government default on its payments to Minnesota.

The bill was premised on my belief that state government should have a “Plan B” if budget talks at the national level can’t be worked out by the end of the month, leading to a federal government shut down.

Currently, the state receives about $9 billion in federal funds every biennium. With almost $85 billion in federal funds being sequestered nationally, we may experience a significant loss of funds to Minnesota.

I was disappointed to see my bill defeated on a party line vote.

VISITORS

Thank you to the visitors who stopped by my office last week!

Members of the I-94W Chamber as part of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Day at the Capitol. St. Joseph the Worker Church (Maple Grove) for Isaiah Day on the Hill.

I also had productive discussions with members of the North Hennepin Chamber of Commerce, and other local folks who visited for Building Trades Day: Paul Stay (Dayton), Brian Raines (Rogers), and Jim Bowman (Maple Grove).

Please let me know if you are ever in St. Paul. I would love to meet with you at my office. Or, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have related to state government. I am here to serve you.

Have a great week!

Joyce

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