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Gov. Walz second budget proposal is little better than his first

Gov. Walz' second budget proposal does almost nothing to remedy the problems in the first one. Minnesotans are some of the most heavily taxed citizens in America. At a time when the state government has never had it so good in terms of revenue, it is incomprehensible that they should be forced to pay out even more for new schemes and core functions of the state, such as roads. ...

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The state government’s surplus is projected to be smaller, but that does not justify tax hikes

A surplus of $1.0 billion poses the same questions as a surplus of $1.5 billion does. Should lawmakers spend it? Leave it with the state's citizens? Hold fire until the fiscal situation becomes clearer? What it does not mean is that we need to raise taxes....

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Farms Use Boatloads of Energy

The article below is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Today in Energy series. It was published in October of 2014, but it reinforces the points I made earlier this week about how higher gas taxes will disproportionately hurt rural Minnesotans. The second graph in this post is especially interesting because it shows that diesel fuel, is the largest energy source used in agriculture because it works. Admittedly, I am not certain if the proposed fuel-tax increase would increase the taxes for off-road diesel, but this is something agriculture interest should pay close attention to. If raising the gas tax is needed for...

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Minnesota Vikings Help Cover the Cost of Innagural Parties for Governor Walz

Governor Tim Walz capped off his first week in office with an inaugural party in Minneapolis on Saturday, treating thousands of Minnesotans to a night of food and performances meant to highlight the state’s diversity and strengths, according to the Star Tribune. That's all well and fine. Politicians have parties to thank supporters and volunteers after slogging through seemingly-endless campaign season, and as long as taxpayers are not paying for it, go for it. But if we don't pay for it, someone else does. According to the Star Tribune: The party capped a week of ceremony and celebration for the administration. After being sworn in...

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Survey Shows 40 Percent of Adults Still Can’t Cover a $400 Emergency Expense: No Wonder Politicians Can’t Pass a Balanced Budget

About 40 percent of adults said that if faced with a $400 unexpected expense, they not be able to pay it with cash or would do so by selling something or borrowing money, according to the Federal Reserve's Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017, Additionally, less than 40 percent of non-retired adults think they are on track in saving for their golden years and 25 percent have no retirement savings or pension at all, the report says. What is even more shocking than these numbers is that the savings rate for the U.S. has actually increased in the past few years. Even still,...

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Dayton Approves Huge Raises for Government Employees On His Way Out the Door

Gov. Mark Dayton has approved large pay increases for 22 government officials, including 7 employees of the Metropolitan Council, who already make well over $100,000 per year. This is why people have little faith that their government is working for them, and not the other way around. According to a CBS news report, Minnesota law says local governments cannot pay employees more than 110 percent of a governor’s salary, which is $127,000. But they can apply for a waiver. The state does give permission, but not often: out of hundreds of requests, it has agreed to only 77 times in the last 21 years:...

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Utility Dive Names Xcel Energy “Utility of the Year.” We’re Less Impressed

Utility Dive, a website that covers the ongoings of the electric utility industry, has named Xcel Energy the Utility of the Year for 2018, commending the company for retiring coal-fired power plants and investing billions in future wind, solar, and natural gas installations. As for us, we don't think Xcel should be applauded for pursuing policies that result in higher profits for Xcel shareholders at the expense of the families and businesses who have no choice but to buy their electricity from the monopoly utility. ...

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