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  Thursday April 24th, 2014    

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The state government surplus (12/08/2013)
From: State. Rep.

Steve Drazkowski

Minnesota’s economic experts released our state’s economic projections recently. The good news is state government has a $1 billion projected surplus for the remainder of this budget cycle. This figure is subject to change, as it could rise or fall when our economic condition is analyzed again in early March.

This leads us to the bad news. Of that $1 billion estimated windfall, only six percent of it – or $55 million — is actually cash in hand, meaning this projection is clearly at risk going forward.

It’s worth noting that while state government seems to be doing well on paper, the hardworking Minnesotans that pay the government’s bills aren’t feeling that same love.

The policies of legislative Democrats and Governor Dayton last session forced them to pay more than $2.4 billion in new taxes and fees to state government — or $450 for every man, woman, and child. In the process, they also increased spending by more than $3 billion and rewarded themselves with a $90 million Taj Mahal Senate office building, complete with a reflecting pool. They increased the all-funds spending by a whopping 10%, the largest spending increase in Minnesota history!

It will be interesting to see if these revenue projections hold true. If they do, it will be critical that the legislative majority resists the temptation to once again increase spending with the new-found money burning a hole in its pocket.

Every time a Legislature chooses to increase spending, it also substantially increases our future financial obligations. None of these programs ever go away voluntarily; they only continue to grow and demand more taxpayer dollars to justify their existence. Nearly $39 billion general fund dollars spent on state government programs in a two year cycle is more than enough. If the projected surplus remains in March, we should plan for the future by discovering fiscal restraint, not going on yet another spending spree.

In fact, I believe one of the first things we should do is repeal the $314 million in sales tax increases that were levied on farmers and other business owners. We have heard many complaints about warehousing, industrial, and telecommunications tax increases negatively impacting business owners, some of which have threatened to move their companies to a neighboring state. We need the taxes to go, not the businesses.

After all, if we can eliminate some of the uncertainty surrounding these oppressive tax policies, maybe hardworking Minnesotans can actually begin realizing economic prosperity. This would reverse the troubling trend created by the Democrats’ tax and spend policies, which have instead brought prosperity to a rapidly growing government.

You can call me at 651-296-2273 or e-mail me at rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn.  

 

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