Letter: Budget historic for all the wrong reasons

 

We’ve been hearing a lot from Democrats this summer about their “historic” budget. A report from the nonpartisan Minnesota Management and Budget office showed that the budget was indeed historic – but for all the wrong reasons.

The report, known as the Consolidated Fund Statement, previewed spending for the next two years and showed that the all-funds budget for 2014 and 2015 is set to be about a record-breaking $67 billion. This is due in part to a truly historic $6 billion overall spending increase, the single largest spending increase in state history.

Inevitably, all that money has to come from somewhere. Democrats are extracting more than $2 billion in new taxes, and hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from hardworking taxpayers of every income level to pay for the tax-and-spend free-for-all from last session.

Of particular note are the taxes and fees that will hurt our farmers and agriculture industry, which is responsible for one in five jobs here in Minnesota.

The warehousing tax, which has been the subject of bipartisan criticism and could be repealed next session, will exempt some products like corn and soybeans, but will still impact fertilizer, tractors and other farm equipment, and fuel that is stored in warehouses.

A new repair and maintenance tax makes those expensive repairs to your tractor or combine even more pricey. These taxes, coupled with a projected 6.5 percent property tax increase on agriculture land mean more money out of the pockets of our farmers.

Rather than record-setting spending increases that are paid for by reaching into the pockets of Minnesotans rich and poor alike, we should have focused on continuing the trend of limiting the increase in government spending, making our agencies and programs more efficient and effective, and eliminating as much wasteful spending as possible. The result, unfortunately for us, was the polar opposite.

The 2013 budget will indeed be remembered as truly historic – historic for its record-setting spending increases that mean more money out of your pocket.

 

Rep. Sondra Erickson

House District 15A

Princeton

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