I read the “no tax” pledge your caucus sent to Governor Dayton this afternoon. I question the wisdom in staking out such a narrowly-focused position this early in the budget process, a position which unilaterally eliminates new revenue as a source for balancing the state budget and seems to limit your caucus’ ability to compromise with the Governor on a final budget solution.
After reading the letter, I am left with several questions.
• Do all 37 members of your caucus commit to opposing cuts to Local Government Aid, which the Department of Revenue has stated will increase property taxes on Minnesotans?
• Do all 37 members of your caucus agree with Rep. Davids, the House Tax Chair, that ending specific tax breaks would represent a tax increase?
• Does your pledge prohibit your caucus from exploring any sort of tax reform that involves broadening a tax’s base to lower its overall rate?
• Do all 37 members of your caucus oppose any effort to create or extend local option sales taxes in Minnesota communities, such as the proposals introduced by Sen. Hoffman, Sen. Miller, Sen. Dahms, and Sen. Newman?
I think your decision to send a “no tax” pledge to Governor Dayton is unfortunate, and I hope that you show more willingness to compromise with the Governor than your letter indicates. The Governor has made clear that he does not want this session to result in an expensive special session, or a shutdown of state government. I know you have said publicly that you share that commitment, yet your letter today leaves little room for compromise or negotiation.
Thank you for your attention to this letter, and for your prompt response to the questions above.
Sen. Tom Bakk