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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Rep. Garofalo: Moorhead Retail Would Be Destroyed!

Category: Economy
Posted: 01/31/13 00:54

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Pat Garofalo went into a tirade during an appearance on Almanac: At The Capitol. He was warning of the dire consequences when North Dakota proposes an end to its sales tax on clothing.

Oh my God....how would Minnesota compete? Garofalo actually said in reference to the North Dakota proposal:

"Retail businesses in border communities like Moorhead will be destroyed."

Garofalo loves that flaming rhetoric doesn't he?

Fact: North Dakota sales tax is currently 5.0%. Fargo, ND which is the booming ND metropolis across the river from Moorhead adds a 2% city tax. So here is the facts. Under Dayton's tax proposal, Moorhead (which adds no city tax) would be 5.5%. Fargo would charge 7.0% Clothing may be exempt in the future, but Moorhead will still have clothing under $100 exempt as well.

(Incidently, Fargo would probably oppose a sales tax exemption on clothing because that would greatly reduce revenues from the city tax.)

Now I ask you....does that sound like imminent destruction?

Frankly, all this talk about sales competiton with other states based on sales tax rates are mostly bunk anyway. Minnesota's current tax rate of 6.875 is higher than all of our neighbors currently. If anything, we should get a sales boom the other way since our overall rate will go down to 5.5% under Dayton's proposal....if such differences actually made any real difference.

It would be nice if, just once, Rep. Pat Garofalo would offer an actual legitimate argument.

Just once.
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Sen. Hann Gives Us The "Poltician's View" of Dayton's Budget

Category: Economy
Posted: 01/30/13 19:08, Edited: 01/31/13 00:17

by Dave Mindeman

Minority Leader Senator David Hann has analyzed Governor Dayton's proposal. He gives us his opinion in a Duluth newspaper opinion piece:

Politician's view: Dayton?s new taxes will be on Minnesota families

The title is very correct...this is a Politician's view. Outside of that, it is pretty much a total distortion.

The first sentence is already untrue....

Every family in Minnesota would see a tax increase under Gov. Mark Dayton?s new budget proposal, which was released last week in St. Paul.

Not true. Some families will pay less tax. Hann forgets that the overall rate of the sales tax goes DOWN to 5.5%....and homeowners get a $500 property tax credit.

Continue Senator Hann....

Under Dayton?s sales tax plan, the state would collect an additional $2.1 billion from new taxes on a variety of goods and services that would be paid by all Minnesotans.

Again, not true. Hann is extrapolating as if the entire increase in taxes will be paid by just Minnesotans. In reality, visitors to the Mall of America will pay some....border state shoppers will pay some....taxes on business to business transactions will be paid by corporations (although they are people too, I guess). And, granted some of these will be passed on to consumers, but certainly not all of it.

Hann continues his harangue....

You may have heard that Gov. Dayton proposes to add sales taxes to oil changes and other car services, haircuts, digital books and music (digital downloads) and over-the-counter medications. Under Dayton?s plan, clothing items over $100 ? like work boots, snowsuits, and wedding dresses ? also would be taxed.

Now this IS true....along with the other services he lists as he goes along.

But Hann refuses to recognize that our economy is declining in its goods orientation. Dayton is talking about a real world service economy, not Hann's back to the future ideas.

Let's hear more...

The state of Minnesota, under Dayton?s plan, would collect an average of $389 more in sales taxes from every Minnesotan to invest in more government-run programs we simply do not need. This means a family of four would pay $1,556 more per year.

Again, Hann distorts the truth. He takes a total and divides it by the population and then says we are all doomed. Ignoring the fact that higher income people will be paying more of the tax (as intended) and that out of state shoppers will pay a portion, and businesses will pay an additional portion. The fact remains that a large portion of Minnesotans will pay the same or less in taxes under Dayton's plan.

Hann shows definitively why he doesn't get any of this....

There are no new reforms or initiatives in the details of the governor?s spending proposal to justify the increases. It is simply the same old increases to the same old programs being conducted in the same old ways. Minnesotans will enjoy the same government services as before ? just at a higher price.

So,Hann totally ignores WHY Dayton is proposing this. To help Senator Hann out, let's give him the reasons.

1. To promote property tax relief which Hann's party has burdened homeowners with for a decade.

2. To end the constant run of budget deficits with stable real economy taxes.

3. To make the income tax system fairer to the middle class.

4. To lower corporate taxes on business and give them property tax relief as well.

5. And most important, increase our investment in education. An investment in the future that makes for a better workforce and the benefits that this gives to the Minnesota business community

Hann concludes with the continuing GOP untruth...

Republicans oppose raising taxes on families to balance our budget. Two years ago we solved a $6 billion deficit by slowing the growth of government and by spending without eliminating essential services that Minnesotans need.

Truth: They balanced the budget with gimmicks and one time money that Dayton has had to account for in this budget. They tripled our debt service with tobacco bonding. They cut health and human service programs and forced education districts to borrow money to pay their expenses.

Yes, Senator Hann most certainly gave us a "politician's" view of the Dayton budget.

Too bad it was not an honest assessment as well.
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"Be Bold, Be Courageous"

Category: Guns
Posted: 01/30/13 18:13

by Dave Mindeman

?This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying ? too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you."
---Gabby Giffords, testifying before Senate Committee

Maybe Wayne LaPierre had more things to say. Maybe he articulated them more clearly. But his presentation was still weaker than the halting but determined message Gabby Giffords gives to all of us.

The conversation on guns has an undercurrent of illogical thought that seems to quickly come to the surface. The entire existence of the NRA is to make sure that we never restrict gun ownership in any way. The 2nd Amendment has been turned into a Holy Grail with similar mythology dominating rational conversation.

To move forward on this issue, we need to split this into three main components.

1) Background Checks. This is the most important component and makes the most sense to insist upon. LaPierre put forth a hopelessly irrational argument at the hearings...trying to tell us that since criminals will never subject themselves to a background check, then the idea of closing the gun show loophole is invalid. As Dick Durbin exasperatingly pointed out, then that is all the more reason to do it. Criminals would no longer use gun shows as easy access to weapons if they know background checks are mandatory there as well. Sure, they will still get their guns by other means, but it will be more difficult and give the authorities a greater chance to intervene.

2) Assault Weapons Ban. If gun protection advocates are looking for an option to give ground, it may be here. Too often we get bogged down in definitions of what assault weapons or automatic weapons are. I wish Senator Feinstein every hope of success with her bill and her expertise in this matter is invaluable. But it seems more important to keep these weapons out of the hands of people wishing to do harm, than to forbid the weapons themselves. They are too prevalent and those that already have them are not going to relinquish them... and the gun manufacturers are always defeating any ban by modifying the weapons to take advantage of any loopholes they can find.

3) Mental Health. Here again, we need to insist upon enormous improvement in both the treatment and information in this area. There must be a way to allow mental health professionals to point out if a person is potentially dangerous mentally and yet protect their privacy (both doctor and patient) in all other aspects of health information. It is difficult but needs to be addressed. In addition, mental health professionals need legal protections for stating their educated opinion on the state of a person's mental health....that can lead to denial of access to weapons.

There must be a concurrent discussion via these aspects of the problem. We need new ideas and new legalities. There has to be a way to protect everyone's rights.... for gun owners and the general public.

comments (4) permalink
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