Letter to the editor: Democrats pulled a bait and switch
To the editor
In February 2010 I made the decision to run for state Senate. That same year, Mark Dayton was the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tom Emmer was the Republican nominee. Dayton campaigned on a "tax the rich" mantra that was picked up by Democratic legislative candidates across the state. Dayton won in November, but Republicans took over the majority in both houses of the legislature.
For two years Democrats pushed their "tax the rich" theme. They claimed repeatedly that the "rich" do not pay "their fair share" of taxes, and that Democrats would see to it that they do so. Well, the November 2012 election was very good to Democrats in Minnesota. They took back control of both the House and the Senate. So starting in January, the Democrats got their opportunity to stick it to the rich.
But something strange happened along the way. Seems as though the Democrats forgot about the promise to tax only the "top 2 percent."
On Monday, April 29, the Senate passed its tax bill. It includes $1.8 billion in higher taxes. Yes, that's $1.8 billion more! They have proposed to expand the sales tax to clothing, over-the-counter medications and auto repairs, among other things. They will place a higher tax burden on public utilities so your energy costs will go up. And for good measure, they added a 13 percent tax to sports memorabilia. You will pay that tax if your son or daughter plays on a rec team that uses licensed jerseys or caps. If little Johnny plays for the "Farmington Padres" this summer you will pay.
And about that income tax. Well, the highest tax rate in Minnesota went up to 9.4 percent from its current 7.85 percent. So at least we stuck the rich there, right? Wrong! The new 9.4 percent rate applies to individuals starting at just over $79,000 and married joint filers starting just over $140,000. Don't misunderstand me, $140,000 is a very good income. But I really don't know that a family of four or five could be considered "rich" at that income level.
Under the current tax plan literally every single Minnesotan will pay more in taxes. And what are you going to get for it? More of the same. There is not one single big item of reform in this bill, or in any other budget bill for that matter. This is the same old song the Democrats have been singing since I was a kid. The solution to every problem: just throw more money at it. That has not worked in the past and it will not work now.
Dave Thompson is Senator for District 58, which includes Farmington.