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Column: 'Tax the rich' actually means tax everyone

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opinion Red Wing, 55066

Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

With the 2013 session now in our rearview mirror, it's amazing to think about the amount of government overreach we have just witnessed from the governor, the House and the Senate leadership.

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Just to be clear, this isn't coming from simply a disgruntled Republican. This is being heard from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, St Cloud Times, Albert Lea Tribune, Duluth News,

National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Never has there been such a public display of disapproval of state tax policy.

This session will probably be remembered for the passage of divisive social issues. But there were many outrageous proposals passed on the House floor that will make many Minnesotans question why we were hearing them in the first place, especially when you consider they were prioritized before our state's budget.

Most egregious was the plan for unions to take over private businesses, in this case child care providers.

Here's a plan 90 percent of the people in Goodhue and Wabasha counties are opposed to if my legislative correspondence is any indication. Yet, we spent almost a full day debating this proposal instead of budget bills. If you are a parent, do you really want your day care costs to become unaffordable? If you are a provider, do you really want government to tell you how to run your business? The idea is nonsensical, and yet it is set to become law.

But our $2 billion tax increase proposal is what residents should remember as they'll be paying for it for many years to come.

Democrats promised they were only going to tax the rich. They broke that promise in a big way. Sure they taxed the wealthiest Minnesotans, but they also taxed our major employers, our small business owners, our poorest residents, and you.

The business to business tax that will soon be instituted is going to impact everyone. Once a business owner starts losing a significant portion of profit to state government, he or she is going to raise the

price of the product they sell or the service they deliver. That means you will be paying more at the store because state government needed to confiscate money from all hardworking taxpayers because taxing the rich didn't bring in enough revenue.

Do you smoke? If you do, you will be sure to notice the $1.60 per pack cigarette tax hike. Governor Dayton called this a regressive tax, meaning the poorest Minnesotans will be hit.

Even as gas prices cleared $4.39 a gallon, Democratic leadership continued discussing raising the gas tax in the final days in an effort to find other ways to meet all of their wasteful spending needs.

It is ridiculous that we've travelled down this tax and spend path to create our new budget. You can't raise $2 billion by "making the rich pay their fair share." It doesn't work and it never has.

This is what happens when there is no attempt at bipartisanship. As a positive example, in a committee like public safety, which is one of government's top priorities, we've always taken a bipartisan approach and the result is a bill that usually receives significant support from both parties. This year's version was no different.

Yet when it came to taxes, our new Democratic leadership took the opposite approach and chose to take what it could, when it could, while they could from every Minnesotan.

I started this session questioning the proposal to increase taxes without having ecific needs addressed. Well, we are ending this session with one result - higher taxes and more government.

If there is one area that I am extremely disappointed with it is the fact that with all the revenue increases, we failed to make caring for our most vulnerable a priority. We have not addressed the immediate needs of the long term care industry. These people take care of our elderly at the most precious and vulnerable time of their lives and we have failed them. If you are going to increase taxes at the highest

rate, you should at least have your priorities straight.

Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, can be reached at 651-380-4345 or rep.tim.kelly@house.mn.

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