From: Della Schmidt
Winona Area Chamber of Commerce
The Winona Area Chamber of Commerce is fully supportive of a statewide debate on the state budget. Sadly, the Governor and state legislators are missing the opportunity to engage in real reform.
While we appreciate that the governor listened to the concerns of the business community and revised his proposed business-to-business sales tax proposal, the new proposal still falls short of reform and sustainable job creating policy. We believe the governorís revised plan contains high spending increases and raises taxes to an uncompetitive level. The governorís new plan would increase taxes 3 times greater than the current budget deficit of $627 million. With current revenue growth of nearly $1 billion for the 14/15 budget year (a 2.7% increase) and $3.2 billion for FY 16/17 (an 8.8% increase) projected revenues should be sufficient to fund government spending and priorities.
Further, the governorís plan will increase taxes at an unsustainable level with increases in tax revenues of 8% or $2.8 billion for FY 14/15 and nearly 14% or $5 billion for FY 16/17. This would fund spending increases of $2.5 billion 8% for FY 14/15 and $4 billion or 11% for FY 16/17. The House and Senate DFL plans increased spending and tax increases even higher than the governor.
At Minnesota Business Day at the Capitol on March 13, the governor spoke to the business community and asserted that no one had come forward with specific ideas and alternatives to the state budget. It is not true that no one has offered any alternatives. Many groups, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and non-profit foundations have been discussing proposals on spending reform ideas to ensure spending is as efficient and effective as possible prior to asking taxpayers for more money. Perhaps the governor just doesnít agree with the thrust of the recommendations; for Minnesota to have real budget reforms, we need to focus on spending reforms in order to slow the cost-drivers in the state budget.
We hope as the governor, Senate and House DFL leaders put together the final budget solution that they put forth a balanced approach that focuses on spending reforms instead of just tax increases to solve the stateís $627 million current deficit. And that any tax changes are done in a way that improves Minnesotaís job climate, competitiveness and future economic growth.