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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, January 29, 2021

Dear Neighbor, 

This week the governor issued a proposal to raise our taxes by $1.7 billion and House Democrats moved to raise consumer energy costs and reduce grid stability at a time they are pushing to use more and more electricity. 

In other words, just another week with a liberal governor and liberal House majority at the Capitol. 

The governor’s $1.7 billion tax increase is just part of his budget proposal for the next biennium. His plan would give Minnesota the nation’s second-highest business tax and third-highest income tax rates. He wants to bring California’s car standards to Minnesota and now it looks like he is doing his darndest to catch that state in taxes. 

It is a disgrace for the governor to shut down our businesses – effectively telling people they can’t make a living – and then turn around and push to raise their taxes. This is the wrong approach on so many levels.  

At the top of the list might be that, for all the governor’s tax-the-rich rhetoric, he also is wanting to raise taxes that impact middle- and low-income Minnesotans the most, such as on cigarettes and vaping products. Overall, $941 million of the governor’s $1.7 billion tax hikes are regressive taxes that will impact Minnesotans of every income level.

Also, there is no escaping the fact raising business taxes costs all of us more. The Minnesota Department of Revenue confirms that corporate taxes result in increased taxes on low- and middle-income families, with 43% falling on Minnesota consumers through higher prices, 43% on other state consumers/employees, and 5% on employees (layoffs, wage reductions, reduction of hours, etc). Simply, corporate tax increases end up falling only 9% on the company (owners/shareholders) and 91% on consumers and employees.  

We’ve known for several months that our economy was experiencing a setback, largely due to executive orders imposed by the governor. But, instead of working to find savings that would at least dent the projected $1.27 billion shortfall in our state, he has seemed more interested in circumventing the legislative process to put COVID-19 patients in long-term care facilities, plan for a sea of corpses and tell Minnesotans what they must do or not do.  

You want more tax revenue for the state? Let’s work on re-opening it so more people can get back to work and make a living. You want Minnesotans to be healthy? Let’s start promoting proven methods to help people live a healthy and happy life to the fullest. 

In other news, a hearing took place for H.F. 278 this week in the House Climate and Energy Committee, of which I am a member. In a nutshell, this bill creates a new “carbon-free” electricity mandate with a requirement for 100 percent carbon-free electricity in our state taking effect in 2050 (2045 for Xcel Energy).  

Such a move would raise energy rates on Minnesota families, reduce the reliability of our power grid, and continues to exclude key technologies like hydro and nuclear. Reducing our energy options also would limit our baseload capacity at a time demand for electricity is rising and the governor wants to force more electric cars into our market. 

Our energy policies should focus on delivering affordable, reliable energy to Minnesotans through an all-of-the-above policy. Instead, this bill limits our options, compromises our grid’s stability and drives up consumer prices. It also leaves us vulnerable to power shortages numerous ways, from ice storms to terrorism and beyond. We don’t need California’s brown-outs in Minnesota. 

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this issue as this bill moves through the process. 

Until next time, have a good weekend.