My Point of View: Work to eliminate waste in state government

Published 8:01 pm Monday, April 29, 2019

My Point of View by John Forman

John Forman

 

Taxes are going up. Again! They say they need more taxes to pay for roads. Again! They promise this time the money will actually go for roads. Again! Have we not heard all of these words before? We had a gas tax increase two years ago to pay for roads. The Legislature let counties add a wheelage tax for roads. The county has added to the sales tax in Freeborn County for roads. In the past, we have put taxes on car parts, tires and auto licenses. All were going to build roads, but many of the dollars ended up going to the general fund to balance the budget. If these taxes were returned to the road fund there would be no need for another gas tax increase. Under the governor’s spending proposal, the state’s gas tax would increase by 70% from the current 28.6 cents per gallon to 48.6 cents. That would make Minnesota’s gas tax the fourth-highest in the U.S., behind only Pennsylvania, California and Washington.

Democrats complain about the rich not paying their fair share but then they push a tax that hits the lower half of the income scale the hardest. Who can afford electric cars? Who buys new cars with better gas mileage as opposed to driving older cars with poorer gas mileage? The lower wage earners pay a disproportionate amount in gas taxes now and another 20 cents will just add to this tax burden. Democrats also want to raise corporate taxes. They do not seem to realize that those tax costs are passed on to the consumer in price increases.

Minnesota Tax Freedom Day was April 25 this year. That means the average Minnesota taxpayer will pay every dollar they have earned up to that date in taxes to the state and federal government by the end of the year. The national average Tax Freedom Day is April 16. Taxpayers in Minnesota work an extra nine days to pay the higher state taxes we already have, and this does not include proposed gas and income tax increases. It seems the goal is to match the neighbor to the north, Canada, with a Tax Freedom Day of June 10, but remember they have some medical cost coverage in their taxes. Some studies show that the Minnesota tax rates are already encouraging high-income people to move out of the state. They are leaving for lower tax rates in other states, and as a result more of the tax burden will fall on the lower-income earners who cannot afford to move. The situation reminds me of a cartoon picturing a liberal and a conservative changing a flat tire. The conservative had a jack and a tire wrench out to change the flat. The liberal was standing there with his billfold out throwing money at the flat tire. We need to analyze the budget and cut some unneeded funding and put it toward the actual needs in the state. The goal of many state agencies is to spend as much tax money as they can so they get more next year. The Legislature needs to recognize that there is waste in our system and work toward eliminating it.

Our present budgeting program is based on giving increases to every program, every year, throwing money at the flat tire! We need to get out the jack and the wrench and work to eliminate waste in government. Thank you Peggy Bennett for helping hold the line in the budgeting process.

John Forman is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party.