[Wednesday] afternoon, Dan Ochsner interviewed Bill Blazer from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. The first topic, the only topic really, was Dayton’s ultimatum insisting that he won’t call a special session if the four legislative leaders don’t agree to an agenda limited to releasing the federal disaster relief funds and repealing the farm equipment repair sales tax. If Republicans insist that repealing the warehouse tax must be part of the agenda, Gov. Dayton says he won’t call a special session.
Blazer told Ochsner that nothing is nonnegotiable. He hinted that the Minnesota Chamber would continue to lobby for including the repeal of all of the business-to-business sales taxes. Twenty-four hours ago, I thought Gov. Dayton was bluffing. I’m rethinking that position in light of the fact that July’s revenues missed projection by 2.2%. They expected to collect $936,000,000 this month. The state collected $915,000,000, a deficit of $21,000,000.
Gov. Dayton insisted that the warehouse tax will be repealed during next year’s regular session. I’m not sure it will. Frankly, it’s irrelevant. If it’s repealed, another tax will be created or raised. With this DFL legislature and a Democrat governor, it’s just a game of whack-a-mole. Kill one mole, another pops its head up. Kill that mole, a different mole pops its head up.
Last night at the BPOU fundraiser, one legislator told me that Minnesotans should brace for more tax increases. This legislator said that’s just who the DFL is. It isn’t just what they do. It’s part of their DNA. They’ve got a lengthy list of things that their special interest allies want to pay for. They’ll only quit raising taxes if their special interest allies suddenly run out of things on their wish list.
That won’t happen, which means the only effective way of stopping the tax increases is to defeat them, to remove the gavels from their hands and to get a conservative governor in office. Democrats insisted that making historic investments in education and transportation would spark an economic revival.
Cargill saw that historic investment in education and left for Colorado. Red Wing Shoes saw the DFL legislature pass a warehouse tax and Gov. Dayton sign it into law. Then they lobbied for repealing the tax. Gov. Dayton hinted that it would get repealed during the regular session. With a major deficit looming, Red Wing must be seriously thinking about building their warehouse in Wisconsin. They’d be foolish not to.
Yes, we need a well-trained workforce. Yes, we need a world-class transportation system. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough. Minnesota needs a world-class tax and regulatory environment, too. Right now, we don’t have a world-class anything. That’s why businesses and people are leaving Minnesota.
If we don’t change that, Minnesota will be a cold California, a state with great natural resources and a tanking economy.
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