Readers Write: (Dec. 10): State budget surplus, violent video games, random acts of kindness

  • Updated: December 9, 2013 - 6:02 PM

Someone’s going to get that money. Who should it be?

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STATE BUDGET

A surplus? OK, then — dibs on that money

Regarding using the “state surplus” to boost the budget reserve, the Dec. 8 editorial neglected one fact. That money does not belong to the state of Minnesota; it belongs to its taxpayers.

Unlike a tax levy, a budget surplus left in the hands of the politicians will undoubtedly be spent with no voter oversight.

The state needs to return those funds to the hardworking people who write the checks.

MICHAEL HARRIS, St. Cloud

• • •

I read with interest that Gov. Mark Dayton is eyeing $1 billion in tax cuts with a recently projected surplus after recently selectively raising income taxes. In the interest of fairness (which seems to be a watchword with both our governor and the president), let me suggest that he use this largesse to increase Medicaid payments to Minnesota physicians and eliminate the provider tax. While Minnesotans enjoy the best health care in the country and hence the world, the state reimburses our doctors 47th of all 50 states for Medicaid. In the last 10 years, the rates have been cut roughly in half — to the point where payments don’t come close to covering the costs of services. Meanwhile, the state (under Obamacare) is expanding the Medicaid rolls. This is untenable and amounts to theft of physician services.

Compounding the problem is the tax on physician’s payments of 2 percent. As this tax is on gross collections, it amounts to a 4 percent income tax on a typical practice with 50 percent overhead. Effectively, then, doctors in our state have nearly a 14 percent state income tax rate while receiving payments that don’t cover overhead.

Dayton has no right to give this money to anyone until the state pays its unpaid medical bills to physicians.

DR. DAN MCKEE, Duluth

• • •

The governor has called for a historic “unsession” for the Legislature when lawmakers convene on Feb. 25. Given the recent announcement of a surplus, the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber strongly urges him to make his first order of business repealing three draconian business-to-business taxes.

The 2013 Legislature enacted numerous changes to tax law that exacerbated the challenging business climate in Minnesota. These new taxes include an increase to individual income taxes, withholding taxes, corporate taxes, sales taxes, estate and gift taxes, and cigarette taxes.

One new cost for Minnesota businesses is the expanded sales tax on business-to-business services requiring Minnesota companies to pay the 6.875 percent sales tax on three significant categories of business-to-business services, including:

1) Labor service charges for repair and maintenance of business equipment and machines.

2) Purchases of telecommunications equipment by telecommunications providers.

3) Storage and warehousing services of business-related goods.

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