Independence Day, the Dayton budget and your liberty

by Rep. Jerry Hertaus

District 33A


Governor Dayton has repeatedly maintained that his “balanced approach” solution for state spending was simply “asking” some Minnesotans to pay more.

If you are legally compelled to do something by legislatively passing and using the force of law, you are not free to refuse without severe penalty of the law. This is not asking nor is it voluntary.

The tax code is perpetually being misused to favor and reward some constituents, while punishing others. The ability to seize private labor (money) unevenly from the population by assigning different tax rates and to confer preferred exemptions to different segments of the population conveys an inherent abuse of power by the government and a fundamental unfairness towards the people governed. Our nation’s founding principles were predicated upon protecting the equal opportunities of the individual’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was not intended to guarantee equal outcomes of the individual. Our current adverse shift in tax policy undermines this principle and is a disincentive to the core principles of personal responsibility, hard work and successful outcomes. Success in Minnesota is increasingly more dependent upon which group you belong to rather than that of the individual.

As a result of 2013 legislation, Minnesota now bears the alarming distinction of being the second highest tax state in the nation. We cannot tax ourselves into prosperity by continuing to grow government faster than the growth rate in the private sector. Growing government by an 8.3% increase in total state spending and adding nearly 1,300 new government jobs is simply unacceptable, irresponsible and non-sustainable, especially in a recession and a slow growth recovering economy. The legitimate functions of government require a healthy and prosperous private sector to fund its legitimate functions.

Sadly, few private sector businesses can any longer compete with government for salary and benefits. Even worse, government does not earn or compete for the revenue to pay its salaries and benefits it simply levies it from its own competitors.

According to actual IRS data, Minnesota has experienced a net loss of more than $5 billion of taxable adjusted gross income (AGI) during recent years by voluntary movement of AGI to competitive lower taxed states.

Growing government in nearly every area of the budget is not setting priorities. Increasing taxes and fees by an amount nearly six times greater than is necessary to balance our state budget is simply irresponsible and not acting as a good fiduciary of the taxpayer’s money.