The Minnesota Free Market Institute
 
The Minnesota Free Market Institute Weekly Update
Friday, April 24, 2009



 

 

 

 

In This Issue
DFL Lawmakers to all Taxpayers: Guess What? You’re Rich!”
State’s New TAP-MN Web Site a Small First Step Toward Transparency
EPA Carbon Ruling: Constitution Optional
Must Reads
In Case You Missed it from the Minnesota Free Market Institute

DFL Lawmakers to all Taxpayers: “Guess What? You’re Rich!”
After months of posturing and trying to make the case for tax increases, the DFL finally came clean and laid out their proposal to raise billions on everything from tobacco and alcohol sales to increased income taxes on 85% of Minnesotans.  

  • Need to sell your snowmobile to keep your family afloat, well now you would have to charge sales tax and file numerous forms with the Department of Revenue.   
  • Have kids in daycare?  You will pay more in taxes. 
  • Want to donate a kidney to your diabetic brother?  Well the DFL wants to give you a tax increase for your generosity.  
     
They obviously don’t get it.  With a housing market in the dumps, the DFL budget calls for eliminating part of the mortgage interest tax deduction.  Um, aren’t we trying to get people to BUY homes?
 
In making their case the past few months, the DFL talked about “raising taxes on the rich”.  We warned that their definition of “rich” includes just about every Minnesotan.  From our analysis, the only folks who don’t get a tax increase are those who don’t own anything, live in public housing, don’t smoke or drink and certainly don’t work.  Oh, and I suppose you are alright if you already own a car.  There are no gas tax increases this time.

Pat Anderson is President of the Minnesota Free Market Institute

 

 

 

State’s New “TAP-MN” Web Site a Small First Step Toward Transparency

TAPMNGovernor Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota Management and Budget unveiled the new “Transparency and Accountability Minnesota Project” website last month. According to the TAP-MN front page, the website “provides a powerful new way for the public to access information about state government spending. ” Governor Pawlenty himself heralded the site by saying, “Taxpayers are paying the bills and they should have the ability to easily look at the state’s checkbook.”
The TAP-MN site is a database of state expenditures with a front end that allows a user to search by vendor, spending category, source of funding and state agency as well as narrow their search by other parameters like the year of the expense.
It has its limitations. The first one is the URL.  http://www.mmb.state.mn.us/tap Got that? Better bookmark it because it’s not easy to remember. Other states like Nebraska have come up with convenient URLs like http://nebraskaspending.com/ . Do you use a browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer? Too bad, the TAP-MN website will not work for you. Also, once you get on the site, you will find that that some spending is hidden due to “privacy” issues, most notably, checks issued to individuals.
Another problem is that since we do not yet have consistent transparency down to the local government level, when the state sends checks to local government, the trail goes cold for citizens interested in what local governments are doing with their state tax dollars. Some cities and counties are better than others in reporting their budgets in detail. Some do only the minimum required by law. There are other quasi-government entities with limited fiscal reporting requirements, such as “development corporations” and “port authorities.” Opacity rather than transparency is a better descriptor at those levels of government.
 
 
Margaret Martin is a Policy Fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute.

 

 

 

EPA Carbon Ruling: Constitution Optional

Amid the self-destructive lunacy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s declaration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant that threatens public health and welfare, the New York Times reports this gem:

 
Clean Air Act, Congress is engaged in writing wide-ranging energy and climate change legislation that could pre-empt any action taken by the agency. President Obama and Ms. Jackson (E.P.A. administrator Lisa) have repeatedly said that they much prefer that Congress address global warming rather than have the E.P.A tackle it through administrative action.”
 
Read More

Craig Westover is a Senior Policy Fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute

 

 

Must Reads

Waste, Fraud, Abuse.  Investors Business Daily. This editorial describes how Federal TARP money meant to bail out the banks is being wasted through ill considered policies and sweetheart deals like ccommerical real estate contract offered to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) husband’s company by the FDIC.  When everybody’s part of government there are no conflicts of interest?
 
Larry Kudlow. The Death of Democratic Capitalism. CNBC’s Kudlow, who has been somewhat optimistic on the prospects for an economic recovery nonetheless warns of an end of Democratic Capitalism and the beginning of an era of “corporate capitalism.” Whether you think these new financial and economic policies are socialism, fascism, “corporate capitalism” or “state capitalism,” it still boils down to a giant increase in state control.

 

 

 

In Case You Missed It from the Minnesota Free Market Institute

 
Craig Westover

John LaPlante State House Call

King Banaian SCSU Scholars

 

 

 

Notable Quotes
No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. –Mark Twain (1866)Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it. –AnonymousThe government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. –Ronald Reagan 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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