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An Open Letter to the Minnesota Legislature: Keep Protecting Minnesotans from Tax Hikes!

July 8, 2011

Dear Legislator:

On behalf of the National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU’s) nearly 7,000 members in Minnesota, I urge you to continue fighting against efforts to impose damaging tax hikes on your state’s families and businesses. With a staggering overspending problem of $5 billion, some are agitating for a multi-billion-dollar boost in taxes. But the solution to an overspending problem is not to overtax, it is to trim expenditures to more manageable levels. Our members thank those of you who have stood fast against counterproductive tax increases and urge you to continue your courageous stance in defense of overburdened taxpayers.

As you know, Governor Dayton proposed a budget containing expenditure levels never before seen in state history. In order to underwrite this record-setting spending binge, he has asked the Legislature to raise taxes by $1.8 billion over the next biennium. While this additional burden would be unwelcome in any economy, it is particularly dangerous because of the threat it poses to the shaky recovery that Minnesotans are struggling with.

Without reforms to unsustainable spending, General Fund obligations would have soared from $31 billion in the biennium ending June 30th, to over $39 billion for 2012-13, a 27 percent increase. But instead of being content with a more prudent 10 percent increase in spending to $34 billion, Governor Dayton and his allies have insisted upon a more drastic course in pursuit of a 20 percent increase in spending.

Such a move would heap even greater financial strains on the backs of Minnesota’s already-overtaxed citizens. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation’s most recent rankings, Minnesota has the 7th-highest tax burden in the country. Adding to this load will negatively impact the state’s ability to compete in today’s economy, especially given that virtually all of its neighbor states feature tax systems that are much less onerous.

While nobody is pleased with the shutdown of government, it should not serve as an excuse to hike taxes in order to fund a bloated budget. Minnesota’s government should do what its people do: live within its means. We urge you to reject calls for greater taxation and look forward to working with you in crafting a budget that protects taxpayers.

Brent Mead
State Government Affairs Manager