To the editor:
In the last legislative session the DFL took over majorities in the House and Senate; combined with a DFL governor they set to work to repair the damage done to the state in the last 12 years. They had to deal with a $627 million deficit along with over $800 million in lOU's to the state's K-12 schools. By the session's conclusion (which adjourned on time!) the legislature delivered a fair and structurally-balanced budget to finally put the state's fiscal house in order.
A $735 million investment is being made in education that pays for all day every day kindergarten, freezes tuition hikes at our universities and colleges after years of double digit increases, and ensures that the $2.4 billion borrowed from the schools will be paid back on time. Property tax relief was a priority with $441 million going to remedy the failed policies of the past decade. This includes a local government aid formula that will aid cities, townships and counties.
To make this possible the tax system needed changes to make it fairer for all Minnesotans. The changes will make the tax system more equitable - taxing those who can most afford to pay, and who have not been carrying the load fairly, by increasing taxes for the top 2 percent. These most wealthy of Minnesota citizens, are still very lucky. In addition to having an abundance of wealth, these taxpayers, even with the increased income tax, pay less as a percentage of their income in state and local taxes than does the average Minnesotan.
In real dollars a taxpayer with an income of $30,000 will see an increase of $45 in all state taxes. Someone making over $250,000 will be paying $3,500 more in taxes. According to recent data this would include 88 people in Redwood County, 110 people in Brown County, and 109 people in Renville County, around one percent of the taxpayers in our area.
It was not possible to turn around a decade of fiscal neglect in one session; more needs to be done. Our roads will not repair themselves. To maintain a 21st century infrastructure improvements must be made. Also many hardworking people struggle with sub-standard wages. Making these changes and working for the future we deserve will take legislators willing to work for our interests, not political party ideology. We should have legislators who look to make our government's rules fair and that give our area of the state its fair share.
2012 DFL Candidate for State
Representative in 16B