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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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News from Representative Erickson 01-25-2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear neighbor,

This week Governor Dayton released a budget proposal he branded as a “Budget for a Better Minnesota.” While the Governor veils his budget proposal in tired campaign slogans and populist rhetoric, his budget contains a number of policies that will burden middle-class Minnesota families.

Families like yours and mine will pay for Governor Dayton’s irresponsible spending spree.

Governor Dayton’s plan would increase taxes on a bevy of goods and services you and I use every day. Your mother and grandmother’s hair appointments will cost more. High school students will have to pay more for their prom dresses and tuxedo rental.

New mothers will find that over-the-counter pain relievers for teething babies cost more. The cost of getting your car fixed or your oil changed will go up. Health club memberships to your local YMCA or fitness center will now be taxed.

Broadening the sales tax base to include these everyday goods and services is simply not the fundamental tax code reform Governor Dayton has spoken about in the past. It is nothing more than a thinly veiled way to increase revenue to pay for a vast increase in government spending without any meaningful reforms.

If the Governor is truly interested in reforming the tax code, I encourage him to revisit my flat tax proposal which would lower rates for all Minnesotans and generate millions of dollars in additional revenue.

Moreover, I have concerns about the fundamentally unsustainable spending increase that Governor Dayton proposes. Currently Minnesota’s economy is growing at a rate of 2-3% per year, but Governor Dayton proposes increasing spending by an astonishing 7.6%.

This rate is unsustainable and calls into question the seriousness of the Governor’s rhetoric about a 'responsible' budget solution. Rather than proposing exorbitant spending increases, Governor Dayton should be focused on meaningful reform of government services so we are smarter and more efficient rather than simply larger and more expensive.

Minnesota’s economy has been improving steadily over the past two years thanks to fiscal restraint and job-friendly policies passed by the GOP legislature in 2010 and 2011. The path to economic prosperity in our state comes from growing the private sector and good paying jobs for working Minnesotans.

The results are undeniable: 50,000 new jobs, 60,000 new business filings, and billions of dollars in additional revenue without raising taxes. These policies are working. I look forward to the rigorous debate over the coming months about how best to move our state forward, and help create a better Minnesota.

Health Insurance Exchange

As part of the new federal health care law, Minnesota is in the process of creating a Health Insurance Exchange. The current proposal moving its way through the legislature is full of waste and would give startling amounts of control over our state's health care system to seven St. Paul bureaucrats. Worse, we're spending tens of millions of dollars to create a program that replaces Minnesota's current system which is among the best in the nation and more competitive than the system being proposed.

This program is a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars; over $70 million dollars have already been spent just to develop a website for the exchange. $5 million dollars were spent designing a logo for the program. This kind of waste is unacceptable, and I will be monitoring the progress of the health insurance exchange bill closely as session continues.

Town Hall Meetings

I will be holding town hall meetings on Saturday, February 9th, 2013 along with Senator Dave Brown. I invite you to come and share your thoughts and ideas about issues of importance to you.

Times and Locations:
7:00AM - K-Bob Cafe in Princeton

8:15AM - Hi-Way Cafe in Milaca on North Central Avenue

9:15AM - Ground House Coffee Shop in Ogilvie on Hwy 23

10:45AM - City Hall in Isle

11:30AM - Wahkon Restaurant & Bar on Hwy 27

12:30PM - Onamia Veterans Club at the Intersection of 169/27

If you haven't already, I hope you will "like" my new legislative Facebook page.

As always, please feel free to contact my office if I can ever be of assistance or if you have thoughts or comments to share.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Sondra Erickson
State Representative, District 15A

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