Letter: We're all paying more with Dems' tax hikes
July 1 marked the first day of a new two year budget cycle in Minnesota, and with that comes more than $2 billion in new tax increases from Democratic leaders in St. Paul that will impact the rich, the poor and everyone in between.
The tone of the 2013 session was decidedly different this year. I've served under Republican and Democrat majorities previously, and I've never experienced a year where government overreach was so commonplace. On July 1, much of that overreach became reality.
Democratic leadership approved budget plans that created a record-breaking $38 billion budget -- $3 billion more than the last budget cycle -- and raised taxes on all hardworking Minnesotans by $2.5 billion in order to eliminate a $600 million budget deficit.
Hamilton said these taxes significantly impact low-income smokers who are now paying $1.60 more per pack, higher income wage earners and the 20,000 small- business owners who pay individual income taxes on their business income. It also increases taxes on agriculture inputs, farm equipment repairs and the estate tax, meaning farmers will pay the price.
Hamilton noted that Minnesotans are also paying new sales taxes on Internet purchases, satellite television and information technology services, as well as a new gift tax. There's also a driver's license fee increase, a motor vehicle sales tax increase on certain vehicles and a new county wheelage tax on every vehicle that your family owns, to be imposed at the discretion of county boards.
Finally, there's a new tax on health insurance premiums to pay for the state Health Insurance Exchange, and increased tax on rental cars.
Legislative Democrats promised "tax the rich," and in the end, they taxed every hardworking Minnesotan. Remember, the Republican budget that prioritized spending and eliminated wasteful government programs worked. What started as a $5 billion deficit ended on June 30 as a nearly $3 billion surplus. Now the Democratic leadership in St. Paul has gone in a completely different direction, and all Minnesotans -- not just the rich -- are going to foot the bill.