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Rep. Lohmer: Dayton Budget Proposal Hits Middle Class Families Hardest

Lohmer describes a day in the life under Gov. Dayton's budget proposal.

As many of you know, Governor Dayton released his budget proposal to the legislature on Jan. 22. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the details of this proposal. I am deeply concerned that the impact of the budget will hit middle class Minnesotans hardest in their every-day lives.

Imagine getting up in the morning to read the newspaper. Under Governor Dayton’s tax plan, thousands of Minnesotans would pay more for a subscription to their morning paper.

Next, it’s time to drop your kid off at the daycare center. Daycare, while already expensive, gives you the assurance that your children are having a safe, healthy and fun day. Unfortunately, under the governor’s tax plan, working parents would pay more for childcare services.

Then, you have to run back to your house because the plumber is coming to fix a leaky pipe. Governor Dayton’s proposal raises taxes on household repair services. Another hit to your wallet!

It’s been a busy and expensive morning already when you finally have arrived at work at an accounting company or a law firm and you just got news that your businesses is downsizing thanks to the new business-to-business tax under the governor’s budget.

To get a break from it all, you grab lunch at a local sandwich shop. Under the metro sales tax proposed by Governor Dayton, your sandwich costs more.

Before you head back to the office, you need to run a quick errand to get your sick child some cold medicine at Target. To your surprise, the cost of over-the-counter medications has gone up because of the governor’s tax sales tax on such medicine.

After being back at work for several hours, it’s time to head out so you can pick up your child from school and then off to piano lessons. Under Governor Dayton’s tax plan, you’ll be paying more for piano lessons because of the sales tax on personal instruction.

While your child is at piano lessons, you run to get your oil changed on your car. The governor’s tax plan increases taxes on oil changes and auto repairs, which are already pretty expensive for your budget.

Your bank account and wallet are feeling significantly lighter and the day isn’t even over yet. To withdraw cash from the ATM machine, you notice the service fee is higher thanks to Governor Dayton’s increased taxes on bank fees. Now you get to keep even less of your hard-earned money.

After looking at your watch, you notice you have time to hit the gym before picking up your child at piano lessons. Except now, the price of staying healthy has gone up with the governor’s tax on gym memberships.

After picking up your child from pianos lessons, it’s time for their haircut. With the sales tax on personal services under Governor Dayton’s tax plan, you’re paying more for a simple trim.

Before you finally get home, you stop to get tickets for the winter carnival for your family and discover the price of admission is higher than last year. Now you must pay more for admission to events under the governor’s tax plan.

After you’ve made it home, had dinner, and helped your kids with their homework, you want to download that new Justin Bieber single that you secretly love. With the new tax on digital downloads, you’re going to have to pay more to listen to your favorite guilty pleasure.

When it’s finally time to rest your head on your pillow and go to sleep, remember that the day you had wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t a nightmare. It’s life under Governor Dayton’s tax plan for Minnesota.

Susan January 31, 2013 at 02:23 AM
And when you wake up in the morning you realize that you are grateful to have a job and that there will be more of them available as the corporate tax rate being lowered will help lure more companies to, or back to Minnesota. Once you recovered from your astoundingly busy day, you can go do some shopping and actually save money on sales tax on all other items that used to be taxed at a higher rate. You can go ahead and buy a few extras as your local tax liability will be $500 less, therefore feeding our economy to further help it on it's road to recovery. There are positives and negatives in this plan, no doubt, but it sure would be nice if some of our elected officials were a little more honest about the entire proposal.
Randy Marsh January 31, 2013 at 02:49 AM
It would be nice of Ms. Lohmer actually offered an occasional solution to the state budget deficit that didn't involve more tax breaks for the wealthy and more borrowing to pay for things like public education.
Ginny Wiest January 31, 2013 at 05:03 AM
Even if Ms. Lohmer listed any or all of her solutions it would do NO Good! The dems have complete control in what are acceptable ideas - believe me no matter how good the ideas the controlling party would oppose it. Their agenda is not to be messed with.
Chris Barnes January 31, 2013 at 10:25 AM
Hope you like spending you extra $500 at Walmart and Applebee's because local business's are having are hard enough time, and when Obama"care" hits, they will all be closing
Pete January 31, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Lohmers article churns like Rachel Maddow trying to make a single myopic point. Corporate tax relief is welcome-commercial real estate relief would be great as well.
Randy Marsh January 31, 2013 at 01:36 PM
It's almost as though you're suggesting the relative GOP sweep more than 2 years ago did not improve matters otherwise how else would you explain what happened this past November? Lohmer hasn't had a good idea since draping her Korean car in an American flag. Maybe she should author yet another constitutional amendment that gets ignored (she's up to 12 by my count). I hope that's not what you are referring to when you say "acceptable ideas".
Al Anderson January 31, 2013 at 02:50 PM
The novel idea that DFL'ers never seem to grasp is Cut Spending...not just projected spending growth but real spending. But, oh, wait, that would force people who have gotten very comfortable by doing little to take hold of their lives and make something of them. And that would mean fewer votes and fewer winning elections for DFL politicians. Speaking of hurting the middle class .... Governor Dayton, who will wind up paying for that Vikings Stadium monstrosity?
yomammy January 31, 2013 at 04:02 PM
How are you supposed to buy votes if you cut spending?
Ruth M. Jones January 31, 2013 at 04:09 PM
What specific spending would you recommend, Al? Yes, I realize you wrote that (spending cuts) "would force people who have gotten very comfortable by doing little to take hold of their lives and make something of them." Who are these people, Al? The people I know who rely upon Medicaid for health care and any other program for the poor and disabled are people who are doing all they can "to take hold of their lives and make something of them." They were born with many disadvantages and physical and emotional problems which have continued throughout their lives. I am very willing to share my wealth and resources with those who are very needy, and I think there are people, how many I don't know, who are also following Jesus' commandments to love God and others as we love ourselves. Ruth
Al Anderson January 31, 2013 at 04:57 PM
1) No additional federal or state support for having additional children while on federal or state support 2) Elimination or reduction of many federal or state mandates that hamstring counties, cities and school districts. 3) Move everyone currently working for public sector unions to a defined contribution retirement plan 4) Eliminate step raises in favor of merit raises in the public sector. Longevity in a job isnt necessarily good. 5) Greater tightening of SSDA 6) Reduce per capita spending on prisons (prisoners health care, education, "perks") 7) Stop the scam of those who dump assets to their heirs so they can go on state assistance (nursing homes, medicaid etc) 8) Stop corporate welfare 9) More local control of school district funding. 10) Delay in providing any benefits for any new state immigrants. 11) Root out Food Stamp fraud (Minnesota is one of the top 2 or 3 states for this). Consider reducing provided amount. 12) Legislators and governors should fully fund their own retirement (health, 401k). Reduce Per Diem. Would you like more ideas?
Edward January 31, 2013 at 05:02 PM
There's the catch. They always say "cut spending" but never offer any specifics on how to do that without throwing sick people onto the streets to die. The last ardent Republican I spoke with about spending cuts was on Minncare (his entire family). When I mentioned that was being funded with MY tax dollars, and how about we cut that he said, "oh, no, not the Minnesota care program. I'm talking about other programs." And there you go . . . talk to these people and you'll find that they all want to cut spending, but NOT THEIR ENTITLEMENT program. Note that most of them are on Medicare ("socialist" healthcare!), Social Security, veterans benefits, etc. The best example is Michele Bachmann. She's never received a paycheck that WASN'T from the government -- foster care payments, worked for the IRS, farm subsidy checks, and Congressional pay. She even graduated from a public high school! It's cradle to grave gummint money for Michele, and she has the nerve to whine about government handouts . . . go figure. These people have zero credibility the moment they open their mouths because they are the biggest hypocrites. And all we got from the MN Republican legislature last session was more "kick the can down the road" solutions, not to mention 2 useless ballot amendments -- taking money from schools and borrowing against future revenues to balance the budget (putting it on the credit card). Lohmer's party failed last session and they got whupped for it in the election.
Andrea Marit Erickson January 31, 2013 at 05:20 PM
You talk about the plan hurting the middle class? What about the poor? We pay sales tax on everything we buy. And that means less available funds each month. I don't know about you, but I have expenses every month: they're called groceries, rent, medical- just to name a few. So remember us poor folks when talking about taxes.
Edward January 31, 2013 at 05:37 PM
The Dayton plan protects the poor -- no sales tax on clothing purchase less than $100. Heck, I'm not poor and I rarely make a clothing purchase over $100 (maybe a winter coat, but even those can be found under $100). And, as I understand it, food would not be taxed. The basics are protected.
Edward January 31, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Most of those are nonstarters. More local control of school district funding --- how much more? As it is those districts that cannot pass local levies are at a distinct disadvantage, and you want to push MORE in that direction? Rooting out food stamp fraud is like trying to save a penny when compared to entire budget. And the "scam of those who dump assets" is another penny in a huge budget. The vast majority who go into nursing homes on the state nickel are truly impoverished -- they have spent down all assets. These are all nice ideas, but most amount to a drop in a flood. To be realistic, breaking the public employees union (a la Scott Walker) is also a nonstarter in Minnesota. Won't happen in my lifetime. "No additional federal or state support for having additional children while on federal or state support " This has to be paired with serious healthcare (contraception, abortion) benefits for poor women. Otherwise it is a nonstarter. Telling poor women to "just say no" to their husband/partner doesn't keep the earner around to help raise the kids. "Eliminate step raises in favor of merit raises in the public sector. Longevity in a job isnt necessarily good." Tell the managers at most Fortune 500 companies that longevity isn't good. Institutional and process knowledge are EXTREMELY valuable. Your ideas sound great until you get to the implementation level. As always, the devil is in the details.
Edward January 31, 2013 at 06:03 PM
I'll bet you $10,000 right now that our local Walmart will NOT be closing due to Obamacare. Same for Applebees. Wanna put some money on it? Stop the fear mongering and massive exaggeration . . .
Edward January 31, 2013 at 06:25 PM
"it’s time to drop your kid off at the daycare center." Lohmer's base are all good mothers who stay at home with the kids and homeschool them . . . . right? But seriously, the case could be made that anyone who can, in one day, pay for daycare, a plumber, gym membership, piano lessons, lunch out, oil change not done by themselves, getting money at an ATM that charges fees (easy to avoid -- just go to your own bank), tickets to winter carnival, and more downloaded tunes for their iPhone is part of the upper middle class (or higher) and can easily (and without thinking, because look at all the crap they bought in one day) afford a buck or two more in taxes for all these purchases. I don't feel bad for this person having to spend an extra dollar or two on taxes for their uber consumption lifestyle. They could have avoided more than half of it by staying home with the kiddos (as a good Christian woman should), not eating out, changing their own oil and having their handy husband fix the dripping faucet, giving the kids piano lessons themselves or swapping services with a neighbor, and going to their own bank for money (vs. an ATM -- who is stupid enough to pay those fees?). Hey Kathy, whatever happened to the good old Republican "personal responsibility" line? Never mind the 2% tax, this is not responsible personal spending. Your example person is a spend-a-holic. Maybe this explains Tony Sutton?
yomammy January 31, 2013 at 09:51 PM
so do the rest of us....everybody has to pay taxes...everybody uses .gov stuff. (roads, services, etc) NOBODY should be exempt. Cant expect everyone else to pick up the tab. (no, I aint even close to "rich"...)
yomammy January 31, 2013 at 09:54 PM
wow...maybe I will climb on my vulcanized rubber horseless auto carrige, and take the buggy down to the habidachery for a new tophat too....
HHF34 February 01, 2013 at 03:57 AM
Sad part is, even if Republicans suggest any changes, the ruling party in St. Paul won't let them put a word in edgewise. Let's see, a work coat for working outdoors is easily more than $100... Then you multiply that by the husband and kids... Then there are gym shoes for school which after age, say 11, are at least $80 on a good day, but usually more like over $100... Let's not forget the steel toe work boots that meet OSHA standards, yep, over $100 easily again... Oh, that's fine, you work in an office, when's the last time you bought a business suit, pants and jacket will easily go over $100 each.. Then there's daycare which Minnesota already is close to the top of the list in cost to families... For one little guy it's over $200/wk for a low-middle end of the road daycare provider. Figuring 7% tax (because let's face it, the ruling party will never get around to reductions in any tax), and most daycares require you to sign a contract to cover the entire year, That's $14+/week and more hours that a parent has to work in order to make ends meet, and equals about $728 more per year in daycare costs for a family when both parents don't have the luxury of having one parent stay at home. Thanks Governor Dayton and the ruling party in St. Paul for another fine example of what economists call "The Law of Unintended Consequences"...
Edward February 01, 2013 at 06:35 PM
"Let's see, a work coat for working outdoors is easily more than $100... " No it isn't. I've gotten great coats for under $100 at Lands End Outlet. I bought two beautiful winter coats at Goodwill for $20 each. It's easy to find good quality winter coats for less than $100. You need to get out more. "Then there are gym shoes for school which after age, say 11, are at least $80 on a good day, but usually more like over $100... " If your kids are manipulating/convincing you to pay over $100 for shoes then you've got a bad parenting problem. I've never spent more than $30 for my kids shoes, up through high school. My daughter was delighted when she found a nice pair on sale at an outlet store for $10. She also bought several pairs from Salvation Army and Goodwill -- all for less than $10. One pair was almost new and originally sold for around $200. You need to be more creative about your shopping. It's easy to outfit a kid for very little, especially if you shop the consignment and second hand stores. In Woodbury there are a lot of affluent people tossing nice stuff. "Let's not forget the steel toe work boots that meet OSHA standards, $100 easily again... " My family members who do factory work (several of them) get these for free -- their employer pays for them. Most employers pay for them, and if not they are tax deductible.
Edward February 01, 2013 at 06:38 PM
"You work in an office, when's the last time you bought a business suit, pants and jacket will easily go over $100 each.." Most offices now have business casual dress codes (much cheaper). Last time I needed a suit I got one for $20 at Goodwill. The poor/middle class can dress well if they shop at the right places. I don't know where you get a 7% tax on daycare. The Dayton plan is a lowering/broadening of tax rates. I think it will be in the neighborhood of 2-3%. Of course your hyperbole and exaggeration might resonate with the free spending Republican (Tony Sutton model) crowd. Some of us know how to budget, spend wisely, and save.
Susan February 01, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Edward has this right. This fall I bought a gorgeous Columbia down winter coat at Kohls for just under $100. It retailed well over $200. Kohls (and most other retailers) have frequent sales, coupons, and promotions - I almost NEVER pay full price for anything at Kohls. Savings on shoes is easy; find it in a retail store, try it on for size and then go to Ebay; half the items on Ebay are now "New with tags" and can be purchased for 20-30% off the retail price. When my teenage son wanted the expensive clothes and shoes, I told him I would pay so much, and if he wanted more expensive, he needed to get a job and pay the difference himself. He did get a job, but more often than not, decided that he had worked hard for his money and would be happier with the less expensive, yet still fully functional, shoes and clothes. A savings and a learning experience....win, win.
Susan2 February 17, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Lets not get started with the small daycare providers, plumbers etc who will now have to collect and pay the taxes. More paperwork, red tape and time for already struggling small business owners.

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