(Photo credit: MPR)
Last night the Democrats advanced their radical agenda in the Minnesota House despite Republican opposition. First, they passed a 20 cents gasoline tax which would increase the current tax by a whopping 70 percent. This would cost the average family between $200-300 more in taxes each year.
Democrats argue that a gas tax is needed to fund the current transporting spending gaps, but the Minnesota legislature is facing a massive $4 Billion budget surplus. They also have wasted over $100 Million on the broken MLARs system and there is rampant fraud in the state child care assistance program. Democrats have plenty of money to use for transportation if they would prioritize spending in the right areas.
The tax was tucked inside the Transportation Omnibus bill (HF 1555). Here's the vote:
Late in the evening, the Democrats passed two gun control measures inside of the Public Safety Omnibus bill (SF 802) that restrict our individual freedoms. The Red Flag confiscation provision allows law enforcement to take firearms away from people without due process if someone assesses them as a risk. Universal background checks requires all transfers and/or sales outside of immediate family members to go through a federal firearms licensed background check.
If the background check bill were to pass the Minnesota Senate, it would be illegal for you to loan your brother-in-law or friend a shotgun for a weekend hunting trip.
Here's the final vote on the Omnibus bill. It passed with 70-64 with five Democrats joining Republican opposition:
Action 4 Liberty opposes increasing taxes and expanding gun control measures on law abiding citizens. We believe that the Republican Senate must work diligently to advance the conservative agenda at the Capitol and not only play defense against the radical liberal agenda. That is the only way to start winning in policy arena.
On this episode of the Living Free Podcast, Jack and Jake discuss all the bills that Republican legislators are supporting that takes taxpayer money and gives it to Somali projects.
First things first. Stop reading the mainstream media when it comes to budgets and tax policy in Minnesota. They want you to believe that Republicans and Democrats are worlds apart. Unfortunately, neither Governor Walz, the DFL House or the Senate Republicans have set forth a vision of smaller government.
Let's start with the least terrible plan: the Senate Republicans. Tax Chairman Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R - White Bear Lake) stood next to Majority Leader Sen. Paul Gazelka and proudly boasted on Wednesday that the Republican tax plan would reduce some taxes and have "no net impact on the Minnesota budget".
No net impact? Republicans who constantly talk about a vision of smaller government and less taxes should be aiming for a net reduction of the budgetspurred from massive tax cuts like ending the tax on social security, eliminating the estate tax and getting rid of the 2013 DFL tax hikes. Instead, they target a modest drop in the marginal tax rate of 7.05% (down to 6.80%). And shield some of the income of social security from taxation.
It appears the Senate Republicans are satisfied with keeping the status quo of Minnesota being the least tax friendly state in the nation. In totality, the amount of money removed from government coffers via their plan is only $800 Million, which means they used the rest of the $4 Billion surplus for new government spending. What a scheme they are running. Say you believe in smaller government at election time, then grow government during the legislative session.
Prediction: You'll be guilted into voting Republican in 2020 because they aren't as bad as the Democrats. We suggest you remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil. You should not put up with this awful performance by Republicans.
Now onto the Democrat tax vision. Both Gov Walz and the DFL House appear hell-bent on taking more of our money. One would likely believe their focus would be on the uber wealthy, but a recent article by the Star Tribune perfectly explains who is harmed: lower income folks.
According to an analysis by the Minnesota Dept of Revenue, lower income Minnesotans would see a 10% increase in taxation. This should surprise no one since Walz' proud policy initiative is to increase the state gasoline tax by 70%. That tax is regressive and could easily add up to $300 per household annually.
On top of that, the Democrats want to keep the expiring 2% health provider tax which is tax on the sick. Walz and the DFL House also want to tax multinational corporations doing business in Minnesota more through a repatriation tax. This move would bring $361 Million more dollars into greedy bureaucratic hands. And they also want a 12.85% tax on capital gains over $500k and freeze the estate tax threshold at $2.7 Million according to the Tax Foundation's analysis.
The Democrat tax plan would raise taxes by $1.4 Billion in the next two years which helps fund their massive $50 Billion budget. We can think of no better scheme perpetrated on the taxpayers of Minnesota than a bunch of politicians who start a legislative session facing a budget surplus, then end up taxing us even more.
This is the tale of the two tax schemes at the Capitol. The mainstream Minnesota media will continue perpetuating this lie that the two parties are worlds apart. But truth be known, you taxpayers are guaranteed to face high taxes for another two years under the power of the current tenants occupying our Capitol building.
Action 4 Liberty's mission is to build a freedom team at the Capitol who fight tooth and nail to expand individual freedoms and reduce government control. We want Minnesota to be a top 10 state for business which means our fighters will work to radically reduce the taxes you pay, while decreasing the size and scope of government.
A bill is up for a vote today in the Minnesota House that would create imposing regulations on people who operate fantasy football games. HF1415authored by Tony Albright (R-55B) would require "game operators offering a fantasy game with an entry fee in this state" to comply with newly created regulations.
Among some of the regulations included in the bill are a prohibition for fantasy game operators from playing in their own game; how winners can be selected; and forbidding athletes in the sport to participate in that league. Recently, Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler made news that he joined a fans NBA fantasy league. It appears this would have been illegal under the new law.
Fantasy football is a growing trend and is widely enjoyed by Minnesota sports fans. Action 4 Liberty believes that government should stay out of the regulation of private sector activity that involves people voluntarily conducting commerce with one another. We will score votes on this bill.
(Picture shows Sen Jim Abeler of Anoka. Photo credit: Star Tribune)
A group of bills were introduced in the Minnesota legislature this session that would appropriate money to specific ethnic groups, paid for by the rest of state taxpayers. These bills received overwhelming DFL support, but several Republicans have signed on and some, were even chief authored by Republicans.
HF 543- Somali arts and cultural heritage program funding provided, and money appropriated.This bill was originally coauthored by Reps Dave Baker (R - Willmer) and Dean Urdahl (R - Grove City). It's Senate companion bill, SF 658, was originally authored by Sen David Senjem (R - Rochester) and coauthored by Sen Andrew Lang (R - Olivia). Baker and Urdahl have since removed their names in the House and Senjem and Lang dropped off in the Senate.
HF 463- African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) grant funding provided, and money appropriated.This bill is coauthored by Rep Rod Hamilton (R - Mountain Lake). It's companion bill, SF 216, is coauthored by Jason Rarick (R - Pine City).
SF 1027- East African community economic development pilot program establishment and appropriation.This bill is authored by Sen Jerry Relph (R - St Cloud).
All added up, a total of $8 Million of taxpayer money would be appropriated in the upcoming biennium if these three bills were passed.
The bills are similar in nature to a bill authored by Senators Jim Abeler (R - Anoka) and Jerry Ralph last year which would have established a Somali Community Development Programfor $18 Million.
Democrat legislators are the main muscle behind these bills. They often use identity politics in order to cater to blocks of potential voters. However, its a mystery why so many Republicans have signed on to bills that unequally send money to specific ethnic groups at the taxpayers' expense. These types of bills are usually rejected by conservatives.
Action 4 Liberty believes in equality under the law. Legislators should not carve out benefits to specific ethnic groups. All Minnesotans are equal under the scope of our laws and thus should not be entitled to special programs or benefits; nor prohibited from them as well.
The chatter at the Minnesota Capitol as the Legislature reconvenes from its Easter break is that Republicans and Democrats are nowhere close to bridging the $2 Billion gap between the Senate Republican budget and Governor Walz. For those only consuming the mainstream media narrative, it would appear this gap is worlds apart. We know otherwise.
Both the Republican Senate and Governor Walz have proposed to grow state spending tremendously and eat up the vast majority of the $4 Billion projected budget surplus. Both Republicans and Democrats want to tax Minnesotans more when it comes to prescription opiod drugs. Walz takes things a step further by wanting to increase the gas tax by 70 percent and keep the health provider tax that is paid by sick Minnesotans. When it comes to new taxes, Senate Republicans score better than Walz.
However, we've been involved at the Capitol long enough to see many of these same Senators deal with a DFL majority in 2013 who massively increased taxes on top wage earners and create a fourth income tax bracket. The 2013 Democrat tax bill brings in billions of new revenue to the state government each biennium which now Republicans and Democrats alike incorporate into their spending proposals. Since the tax went into effect, the Republican Senate has never proposed eliminating or even shrinking the new tax bracket the DFL created.
Minnesota is ranked the "least tax friendly state" by Kiplinger. At what point do Senate Republicans get blamed for these high taxes? Imagine you run a business and the former CEO enacted a wasteful company-wide green energy program funded by its employees. If you continued spending the money each fiscal year after you took over, wouldn't you share blame for not ending the program and removing the financial burden on your employees?
Senate Republicans should be proposing a budget that shrinks the size and scope of government and eliminates the taxes created by Democrats. If we really want to fight against the liberal agenda, then we must go on the offense when it comes to taxes and spending.
Legislators started the 2019 session facing a massive $4 Billion budget surplus. But that didn't stop them from wanting to increase taxes on regular Minnesotans at the pump. Governor Walz laid out his proposal in February to increase the gas tax by a whopping 70%, or another 20 cents per gallon. This would equate to nearly $300 for the average family in Minnesota.
Since cars are becoming more fuel efficient and every day there are more electric vehicles hitting our roads, Rep Raymond Dehn (DFL - Minneapolis) has a different idea: tax people on their mileage. Dehn introduced a bill (HF 1146) that authorizes MnDOT to conduct a study on phasing in a mileage tax to the current system of automobile taxation.
But how will the government know how many miles we've driven?
According to Rep Dehn, since we all use smart phones, all that is needed is a GPS transponder that's plugged into our vehicle that can talk to an app on our phone. This would communicate our mileage to the government and come back to us in the form of a tax bill.
Rep Dehn assures privacy advocates that the data would be kept private for only tax purposes. Although, like most other privacy invasions by government, once a program is established, its scope usually increases over the years as legislators take advantage of the government's new capabilities.
Action 4 Liberty strongly opposes this move for two important reasons. First, we are overtaxed in this state and see no reason to create new streams of revenue for the government. Secondly, personal privacy is something that must be protected at all costs. Government has no right to place devices in our vehicles to track our location or mileage.
The Minnesota Legislature is currently on an Easter break and won't resume work until Monday, April 22nd. In the meantime, Minnesota taxpayers are safe from new taxes, more regulation and losing more of our freedoms.
So far the DFL House and Republican Senate have worked together to infringe on our freedom to use cellular devices in vehicles. The Legislature passed and Governor Walz signed into law the hands free bill giving police officers the right to pull us over and fine us $50 for the first infraction.
Still to come in this session is the major budget items that will determine where your tax money goes. Both the Republicans and Democrats want to grow government spending by a lot. Democrats want to create additional taxes like the 20 cents increase on the gas tax. Republicans and Democrats are on board for taxing sick people who need prescription pain medications via the Opiate bill.
Minnesota is already losing businesses every year due to our high tax/regulatory environment. Now a handful of Democrat legislators want to double down on making Minnesota the least desirable state for business. Today they launched their version of the Green New Deal (HF 2836).
According to the bill, the Green New Deal would work towards making Minnesota 100% carbon free in 11 years.
The bill also creates a Climate Change Advisory Council to "provide recommendations to improve Minnesota state government operations, functions, and policies to identify groups and individuals in need of assistance in adapting to climate change and develop programs to assist those groups and individuals."
Like its sister bill in the US Congress, the bill isn't likely to receive much support in the legislature because the vast majority of politicians are not as dumb as the policy-makers behind the absurd proposal.
Action 4 Liberty supports a 100% stupidity-free standard by May of 2019. Fossil fuels are a more efficient form of energy for our current economic demands. There is no scientific consensus on what the limiting of fossil fuels will do to future climate conditions. A policy as costly as this one should have a metric that can be used to measure its impact.
(We at Action 4 Liberty do not usually write articles in this style. But 100% carbon-free in 2030, c'mon!)
Minnesota Senate Republicans came out with a statement on Monday originally saying that they would freeze the fraudulent Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) starting in FY 2022 (see bottom of page). However, due to severe backlash from voters, the Senate Republican Caucus has adjusted its Facebook post to remove the 2 year grace period. It's unknown if this will translate into policy.
The Child Care Assistance Program is the subject of a recent Legislative Auditor reportwhich found fraud and horrible investigatory practices at the Dept of Human Services. A whistleblower from DHS asserts that over $100 Million of fraud exists in the program and some of that money is being channeled through Somali childcare centers and sent overseas to fund terrorism. In 2018, the program spent $254 Million of taxpayer money.
Action 4 Liberty calls for an end to the CCAP program. Republican Senators need to defund it now and save our tax money from fraud. It's also not the role of government to fund people's childcare. Our parents were able to raise us without government programs in place. Most likely the Republican Senate will fund the CCAP program in the last 48 hours of session in May in a thousand page Omnibus Bill. Tell them NO WAY!