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Letter: Tax increases will force you to pay more

By District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne

Are you ready to pay more of your hard-earned money to your state government? If not, you aregoing to be disappointed. As of July 1, dozens of new tax and fee increases approved this legislative session have been implemented.

The start of July marked the beginning of the new legislative biennium and a new budget cycle. That means billions of dollars are now being spent on new and bigger government programs, and billions of dollars in new tax and fee increases are now being collected from all hardworking Minnesotans, making us less competitive with South Dakota and Iowa.

Here is a partial list of the tax increases, many of which went into effect on the first of the month:

* Cigarette tax increase of $1.60 per pack.

* New fourth tier income tax (second highest in the country), retroactive to January 2013, resulting in a 25 percent tax increase for some small businesses.

* Expansion of sales tax to internet purchases.

* Expansion of sales tax to DirectTV and Dish Network.

* Expansion of sales tax to information technology services.

* New tax on health insurance premiums to pay for state Health Insurance Exchange.

* New tax on farm equipment repairs.

* New estate tax that will hit some farmers, making it more difficult to keep the family farm.

* Increased tax on rental cars to 9.2 percent

* Driver’s license fee increase.

* Motor vehicle sales tax increase on certain vehicles.

* Imposing a new gift tax.

* New “warehouse tax” imposed on businesses that will increase the price of every product, including food, sold to Minnesota families (effective April 1, 2014).

* New county wheelage tax on every vehicle that your family owns, to be imposed at the discretion of county boards.

During the last campaign, we heard a lot of promises about the top two percent of Minnesota’s wage earners paying their fair share. These new taxes reach over to more than just the top two percent, and as a result the state’s budget will grow by more than eight percent, which is two or three times faster than our economy.”

To that end, I recognizes the newly released July economic update for Minnesota shows steady growth overall, but I’ mconcerns about sales taxes being lower than expected. Nearly two-thirds of the current $463 million surplus comes from greater income tax collection.

Those numbers were attributed to a higher than expected numbers of hardworking Minnesotans who chose to recognize income in 2012 before the federal tax increases of 2013.

The sales tax, however, was the only area that didn’t exceed expectations. While total sales taxes were only one percent below projections, it’s not the direction he’d like to see it go.

A strong economy is built on the sales of goods, and when that slows down it’s worth taking notice. With that, the state’s economists are still expecting the economy to grow much like they did at the point of the February forecast.