On Thursday evening, the Minnesota Senate held a long floor session to debate the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill (SF3656). After passing a two-year budget bill last year that fully funded government, the Minnesota Senate voted for a massive garbage bill that grows spending using additional funds from the budget surplus. The bill which has multiple subjects in it, fails the constitutional test of "single subject" according to Article 4, Section 17.
Action 4 Liberty scored the vote, which came down to a strict party line vote. All Republicans voted for the spending bill.
Also, Sen Ron Latz introduced an amendment to the bill during debate that would've expanded regulations on private citizens who seek to transfer or sell firearms to other individuals. This extreme bill would require Minnesotans to keep record of transferring firearms for the purpose of hunting if an individual loans his firearm to another person for longer than 12 hours.
The Amendment was ruled "not germane" by the President of the Senate and Latz challenged the ruling. A "Yes" vote was in favor of the President's ruling and the right vote to take for liberty. Action 4 Liberty scored the vote.
The MN House just passed the Education Omnibus Spending bill (HF4328) that increases spending by $30 Million. Last year, the Legislature passed a two-year budget that fully funded state government, but Republicans decided to take the majority of the $329 Million surplus and spend it on more government. This bill was the first of many bills that will spend the surplus money.
Action 4 Liberty did appreciate the provisions in the bill that increase school safety, but wanted to see the funds re-appropriated from other areas of the budget that passed last year, instead of spending new money. Republicans campaigned on a platformof shrinking government. The entire budget surplus should have been returned to taxpayers, not spent .
Two Republican legislators, Rep Munson and Rep Drazkowski voted against the spending bill. All other votes against the bill came from DFL members who felt the spending wasn't enough. Action 4 Liberty scored this bill.
Despite campaigningon a platform of shrinking government, Speaker Kurt Daudt and Republican leaders at the Capitol refuse to give backthe $329 Million Minnesota taxpayers were overcharged, opting instead to spend nearly 70% of it on more government. The House released a figureof $107 Million it planned to give back in tax relief. There are currently no specifics on who would receive the tax relief.
Action 4 Liberty and activists across the state called for the entire surplus to be returned to taxpayers and not one dime more spent on new government spending. The state government is currently operating under a two-year budget that was passed last year.
On top of spending an additional $222 Million of general funds, Republican Leadership in St Paul is also looking to add an additional $825 Million of spending as debt on the state credit card.
Make sure to share your disapproval of this budget proposal with your legislator and ask them to vote against these omnibus bills that grow government.
We keep hearing on the campaign trail from Republican leaders that government is too big, but when push comes to shove, it seems like they always end up growing it even bigger. Now Minnesota is faced with an excellent opportunity to shrink the size of government by conforming to the new Trump Tax cuts, but word on the street is that Speaker Kurt Daudt wants to go the other direction and grow government.
If you aren't aware, odd years in the Legislature are meant to be budget years. Last year, the Legislature increased the two-year budget by 9.5%, a whopping $4 Billion of growth. This session, the Legislature is supposed to focus on policy changes, but they have come across almost $700 million more dollars in tax revenue than original projects due to Trump’s federal tax changes (which currently don't align with Minnesota tax laws). Thousands of Minnesota taxpayers are paying more in taxes.
You are being over taxed!!
The February economic forecast projected a $329 Million budget surplus. In other words, the government is overtaxing you by a lot of money. The $329 Million Budget surplus should be returned to the taxpayers,not spent.
Unfortunately, Republican Kurt Daudt is caving to Mark Dayton and looking to spend it on more government, more wasteful projects and more pork. The Legislature should not spend one more dime of taxpayer money this year. State government is already operating under a bloated two-year budget.
Call your legislator today and tell them to give the surplus back and reduce spending. Don't cave to liberal Governor Mark Dayton and Speaker Kurt Daudt.
A bill introduced by Rep Jerry Hertaus (R - Loretto) would reduce marginal income tax rates for Minnesota taxpayers by up to 18% (HF3811). Tax policy is a big issue this year at the State Capitol due to the passing of the federal tax law. Currently, if the legislature does not pass any new law, Minnesota tax filers will have to file additional forms with the MN Department of Revenue and some will have to pay more in taxes. Efforts are moving through both the House and Senate to conform to the new tax law.
Hertaus' bill would cut all marginal tax rates, giving taxpayers across the board a reduction. Here's a sample of the cuts for married couples filling jointly:
(1) On the first $35,480 , 5.35 percent;
(2) On all over $35,480 , but not over $140,960 , 7.05 percent;
(3) On all over $140,960 , but not over $250,000 , 7.85 percent;
(4) On all over $250,000 , 9.85 percent.
(Note: underlined numbers represent the new change to the current law)
HF3811 has five coauthors, including the chairs of the two House Tax Committees. Action 4 Liberty has added this bill to our watchlist on mnscorecard.comand calls upon House Leadership to pass the bill.
The companion bill in the MN Senate is authored by Sen Roger Chamberlain, chair of the Senate Tax Committee.
Governor Dayton on Tuesday pledged to veto the House version of the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) fix. On Monday, a Senate bill and House bill both passed that contained a one time appropriation of $10 Million to keep the project going. The Dayton administration stated it would need $43 Million to complete the project that already cost taxpayers $93 Million and was suppose to be working last summer.
The major difference between the House and Senate version is where the money comes from. Both GOP bills take money from current appropriations, with the Senate bill getting the money from a reserve account. However, the House bill goes outside of the agency and gets the $10 Million from the Dayton Administration's budget.
Governor Dayton is a typical politician who wants no accountability. After wasting massive amounts of taxpayer money, it's only prudent for his Administration to bear the costs. We encourage Republicans in the Conference Committee to hold strong on this issue. If Dayton vetoes the bill, he will have to own this problem for the last year of his time as Governor.
On Friday, Governor Mark Dayton laid out his supplemental budget proposal that would essentially allocate most of the state projected budget surplus of $329 Million towards more spending or remaining in government accounts. Odd number legislative years is when the Legislature and Governor pass a biennium budget, however, a wish list of election promised pork spending gets masked as "supplemental spending bills" in the even number years.
Included in the Governor's proposal is nearly $40 Million to rescue the failed MNLARS program and the administrators of it at MN.IT. Another $27 Million would go to government pension plans, while $30 Million would be allocated to border-to-border broadband.
What might be the most egregious part of the plan, is that Dayton wants to shift recently passed GOP property tax cuts from businesses to refundable tax credits so Minnesotans without tax liability receive a paycheck. That's more redistribution of wealth.
Action 4 Liberty encourages the GOP Legislature to return all of the surplus through tax reforms. After growing government by 9.5% last year, there's no reason to grow government by one more penny.
Scott County Republicans endorsed Erik Mortensen on Saturday over incumbent Bob Loonan for the Minnesota House. Mortensen ran on a platform of changing course in St Paul from the current trend of high taxes and overregulation. Loonan's career in office was with a Republican majority that grew spending, debt and the role of government in health care.
“There was a clear and convincing message sent from the people that they wanted a new representative going forward that will fight to uphold their principles,” Scott County GOP Chairman Joe Ditto explained. “It was a single ballot endorsement with commanding victory of over 70% of Republican delegate support. It was an open and shut case.”
Erik Mortensen, a longtime Republican activist and lifelong Shakopee resident, was chosen by the elected precinct delegates to be their endorsed candidate on the ballot this fall. “It was an open, fair and transparent endorsement process that we are all proud of. All the candidates had complete knowledge of the process and access to the delegates to make their case. We have an endorsed candidate in Erik Mortensen that all Republicans can rally around to advance our shared principles and defeat the Democrats this fall,” Nominations Chairman Jonny Anderson explained.
“The people are clamoring for us to Change Course,” Mortensen said. “All too often politicians make promises they don’t keep. When they heard that I will vote for individual freedom and against government stifling regulation, they jumped on board.” he continued.
“It’s clear that authenticity sells and Erik is as genuine as they come. We are excited to have him carry our message forward,” Chairman Ditto concluded.
A new bill in the Minnesota Legislature, authored by Rep Nick Zerwas in the House, would minimize patient privacy in Minnesota if passed. The bill known as Patient Consent Modification (HF3312) would allow health providers to utilize federal HIPAA law standards for disclosure of patient records, which carries language that is less strict than current Minnesota statute.
According to Citizens Council for Health Freedom the "US Dept of HHS lists 1.5 million business associates who can have access to your data under HIPAA without your consent, if your doctor, hospital or insurer gives it to them. But under MN's privacy law, they must get your consent."
With government's ever increasing role in health care and collection of data, one could imagine how bad this bill is for the future of our privacy. Imagine federal laws for purchasing firearms loosely allowed businesses to share gun purchases with others, including government agencies. But Minnesota had strict language in law that stated gun purchase information could only be released with the consent of the customer. This law would allow the federal language to be used by retailers and would lead to things like gun registration lists collected by the government. It's not hard to imagine the potential abuse of that.
Health privacy is a major pillar of health freedom. There's a growing trend towards leaving a private sector health care system in the U.S. in lieu of government run health care. The more the government is involved in our health care or the status of our health, the less overall freedom we have.
Action 4 Liberty opposes this bill in its current form and has added the Senate version to our Watchlist on mnscorecard.com. Click here.
The disastrous government project known as MNLARS met a roadblock yesterday in the Republican controlled House. Despite wasting $93 Million of taxpayer money on a failed IT system used for processing the states motor licenses, Governor Dayton and his newly appointed MNIT chief are requesting $43 Million more. This isn't the first time we've seen politicians try solving problems by throwing more money at it.
MNIT chief Johanna Clyborne requested $10 Million immediately to "keep computer programmers on board." But Republicans in the Transportation Committee had other plans in mind and voted for Rep Paul Torkelson's bill HF 3147 which appropriates $10 Million to MNIT in exchange for an equal amount of cuts to the "general fund executive agency appropriations." The bill also requires a detailed project schedule and measurable performance benchmarks (added as amendments in committee).
Our position at Action 4 Liberty is that there should be no additional spending this session after lawmakers grew state biennium spending by a massive $4.5 Billion last year. We encourage legislators to oppose Governor Dayton's call for spending additional taxpayer money, especially to fix a problem that he is responsible for creating.