To the editor:
Grover Norquist has issued a pledge to the GOP that they will not raise taxes on the rich. Most of the GOP have signed it.
The Minnesota GOP lawmakers are proposing a $1.3 billion increase on property taxes over the next four yeas. This proposal will increase taxes $359 million or 4.5 percent for homeowners, renters, farmers and small business next year alone. Greater Minnesota is likely to see a larger increase than those who live in the metro area. It will end important tax deductions such as the market value homestead credit and reduces the renters credit. The renters credit cut will mean 38,000 Minnesotans will pay higher property taxes. This refund disproportionately impacts the elderly, disabled and people on fixed incomes. (But they must honor their pledge to Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes on the rich.)
It cuts the trade office by more than 30 percent which will greatly reduce Minnesota's ability to compete in the global market economy. It cuts the budget for job creation by more than 50 percent, workforce development 5.2 percent and housing 10.8 percent.
It increases $1.5 million in fees for building permits and triples the fees charged by the Combative Sports Commission. (But they must honor their pledge to Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes on the rich.)
It will cut a total of $22 million from our children's schools, eliminate $58 million in funding to close the achievement gap, change laws so that more schools go to a four-day school week and cut special education funds which harm disabled children and forces schools to use property tax levies.
It cuts our colleges and universities $411 million which would result in a $200 million increase in tuition fees. It forces colleges and universities to lay off staff with the biggest cut to our colleges and universities in Minnesota history. (But they must honor their pledge to Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes on the rich.)
It cuts Disaster Assistance Match for federal funds which leaves flood ravaged communities on the hook for finding funds to rebuild. It reduces funding for services to battered women, victims of sex abuse, sexual assault survivors, community crime prevention and gang and drug task forces by $12 million and transfers over $116 million from five specially dedicated public safety funds like fire safety and 911. (But then, they must honor their pledge to Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes on the rich.)
It increases fees on buses and cuts thousands of bus routes and jobs, which could greatly increase the number of drivers and add to traffic congestion on our roads. It eliminates bus service that seniors and the disabled rely on to get groceries and travel to work. It stops road maintenance in greater Minnesota - meaning more potholes and crumbling roads. (But they must honor their pledge to Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes on the rich.)
It cuts $1.8 billion from the state Health and Human Services budget disproportionately on the back of seniors and disabled Minnesotans. It irresponsibly relies on more than $1.25 billion in savings that is unverifiable and will likely never materialize. For example, it gambles on $300 million in savings from a federal waiver that will likely never be granted. It dismantles the bipartisan state Health Care Program (SHIP) and health care homes which moves Minnesota's nation-leading health care system backward.
It eliminates thousands of public and private sector jobs that will hurt middle-class families. It cuts payments to Minnesota hospitals by more than $53 million ($106 million when federal matching funds are accounted for) resulting in the loss of about 2,000 private sector jobs. It also throws Minnesotans off health care and increases the number of uninsured.
All this because they must honor the pledge for Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes on the rich.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying:
"Wise statesmen established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future, some man, some faction, some interest should set up the doctrine that none but the rich men and none but white men were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity should look up again at the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began."