President Donald Trump was in Minnesota on Monday on Tax Day, April 15, to highlight the tremendous success of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which delivered tax cuts to more than 90% of the country and jolted the economy here in Minnesota and across the country.
Unemployment benefit applications nationally hit a 50-year low last week, and Minnesota’s unemployment rate has hovered near its record low of 3%. Wages are rising, workers continue to receive raises and benefit bumps, and the labor market remains incredibly competitive for anyone willing to work.
The president’s message is simple: Our economy thrives when Minnesotans are able to keep more of their hard-earned money.
Unfortunately, Minnesota Democrats have a much different view.
They fiercely opposed Republican-led tax cuts here on the state level that cut taxes on Social Security, college graduates with student loan debt, farmers, Main Street businesses and more. They predicted doom-and-gloom and claimed that tax cuts would lead to a budget deficit. Minnesota’s surplus stands today at about $1 billion.
This session, Democrats in the Minnesota House are planning an all-out tax hike blitz that would hit Minnesota families at every income level. The size and scope of their tax hikes are frankly staggering — if enacted, Democrat tax hikes would take more than $12 billion from Minnesotans over the next four years, making health care, gas and other everyday goods and services more expensive.
While the Democrats’ plan for a 20-cent gas tax increase has gotten a lot of attention, it is only a fraction of the tax hikes — nearly $4 billion over four years — they are proposing for a basic priority like roads and bridges. They want an additional increase on tab fees and a huge spike to the metro-area sales tax to pay for billion-dollar trains that won’t reduce congestion on our roads.
Despite promises to lower health care costs last fall, Democrats want to raise $2.5 billion in health care taxes by bringing back a tax on nearly every medical visit and procedure — including dental.
Not only does this represent a broken promise, it’s a missed opportunity. If Democrats do nothing, Minnesotans would save literally billions on their health care costs. Constituents contact legislators every day about the challenges of skyrocketing premiums and unaffordable care, but even health care is not spared from their tax hike crusade.
It’s not just how much we pay at the pump or how much we pay for doctor’s visits. Democrats want to disrupt every aspect of our lives, including raising a new payroll tax on every employer and employee in the state to pay for benefits many of us already receive from our employers.
In total, this new government scheme — which requires more than 400 new government employees — would cost taxpayers $2 billion over four years, and would require the creation of a new IT system that state analysts have admitted will be extremely complex and take longer to create than the bill authors have promised. If we can’t get something as simple as our driver’s license system to work, I don’t have confidence this system will fare any better.
Finally, the Democrats’ tax bill takes more than $4 billion out of Minnesota’s economy by 2023 and uses it to fund their government spending spree. In an effort to justify their massive business tax increases, they demonize Minnesota companies like Cargill and Land O’Lakes, rather than treating them like valued job creators.
The $12 billion in tax increases proposed by Minnesota Democrats is irresponsible, unsustainable and unfair to Minnesotans and their pocketbooks.
This tax season, the contrast is clear. Democrats believe your hard-earned money is theirs to spend on whatever radically expensive proposals they can dream up. Republicans believe that you work hard for your money and that government should live to learn with what they’ve got. After all, it’s what Minnesota families do every day with their own budgets.
Thankfully, Minnesotans have a Senate Republican majority and Republicans in the House who are here to fight against these extreme proposals and help you keep more of your hard-earned money.
Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, is the minority leader in the Minnesota House.