Thursday, February 07, 2013

A state of chanting points and deafening silence

In his State of the State address Wednesday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said a lot. But it was what he didn't say that struck me. I'll get back to that.

First, there are some key excerpts of the address which I'd like to focus upon.

When touting the 2012 job growth in Minnesota, Dayton emphasized how our state was number 12 out of 50. He then took a little dig at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently alluded to Dayton's proposal of increasing taxes $2 billion and then extolled the virtues of Wisconsin's business environment  (emphasis mine).

Wisconsin, which by the way is open for business, helped bring up the rear at 42nd. And, help spread the word across the St. Croix, their unemployment rate last month was 20% higher than ours, while our per capita income was 12% higher than theirs.

Before Walker was elected in 2010, Wisconsin had been saddled with progressive rule in their state for the better part of a decade. Now that Walker and the GOP controlled legislature has begun to implement their tax cutting agenda, a nearly half billion dollar budget surplus is estimated for this cycle. Also, when Walker was elected in 2010, the unemployment rate had been hovering around 8%. By the end of 2012, it was 6.6%. So in terms of jobs, Wisconsin is beginning to flourish. And if Dayton's proposal of a "business-to-business" tax goes through, look for some Minnesota companies to take up Governor Walker on his offer.

Trying to cut our way to a Better Minnesota is a failed experiment.

I don't believe I was the only conservative in MN to respond to that statement with "WHAT FRIGGIN' CUTS?!?!?!" The last budget cycle saw the Republican majority in the legislature introduce (and pass) a budget of $34 billion, which was a 12 percent INCREASE over the previous budget. But Dayton's statement is clearly DFL speak for "we wanted a 24% increase but only got 12, hence a cut in public funding." Never mind that said public funding was never in effect in the first place, but nevertheless we're supposed to consider it a "cut."

Today, more and more hard-working, middle-class Minnesotans believe that the state’s tax structure is unfair to them. And they’re right. The facts compiled by the nonpartisan staff at the Minnesota Department of Revenue show that the richest Minnesotans pay less of their incomes in state and local taxes (Could it be because they've got their wealth stashed in South Dakota? - ed.) than most other Minnesotans.

This is one statement that brings me back to an issue which was conspicuously absent from the Governor's speech: his proposal two weeks ago of a "Sales Tax broadening." How is a 5.5% sales tax on many services (e.g. Legal services, Accounting services, auto repair, household repair and maintenance, Admissions/Memberships, etc.) suppose to ease the overall tax burden on the middle class, especially since they were already dinged with a 5% increase in Federal payroll tax at the beginning of this year? And what about the proposal of increases in gasoline and cigarette taxes? Nary a mention of such so-called revenue enhancers (could it be because those two taxes are actually the most regressive taxes, thus impacting the middle-class the most? Huh.).

But what really had the Capitol Building buzzing this past week is the DFL-controlled legislature proposing several pieces of "gun control" legislation, a subject which Dayton did not broach.

Felony to carry on school property:

Removed misdemeanor exemption for permit holders carrying on school property. (Also removes "a firearm carried in violation of this paragraph is not subject to forfeiture.")

Adds a gross misdemeanor. for the first time, and a felony charge for the second time for carrying in an establishment that asks you to leave.


Sheriff / Police can require you to get "signed off" state licensed primary care physician or state certified mental health professional before you get a permit.


Defines "Assault Weapon" as ANY:

Semi-automatic that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has one or more of the following:
a rifle or shotgun with a pistol grip or thumbhole stock,
any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand,
a folding or telescoping stock,
or a shroud attached to the barrel or that partially or completely encircles the barre.
That has the capacity to accept more than SEVEN rounds of ammunition.

Prohibits the ebove mentioned "Assault Weapons"
No grandfathering...

Any person who, on February 1, 2013, legally owns or is in possession of an assault weapon has until September 1, 2013, to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution under Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133:
(1) remove the weapon from the state;
(2) surrender the weapon to a law enforcement agency for destruction;
(3) render the weapon permanently inoperable; or
(4) if eligible, register the weapon as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133, subdivision 5.


Large-capacity magazine crime:

"Large-capacity magazine" means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds.

It is unlawful for a person to manufacture, import, transfer, or possess a large-capacity magazine.

Police / Gov't are exempt.

No grandfathering:

(1) permanently alter the magazine so it cannot accommodate more than ten rounds;
2.33(2) remove the large-capacity magazine from the state; or
2.34(3) surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.

To be fair, it's mostly urban DFL legislators who are pushing these items, whereas outstate Democrats would be committing political suicide (not to mention going against their own personal belief in the second amendment) if they showed any support for these bills. Therefore, there's no reason for the Governor to comment on the gun issue since the aforementioned House Files may well get shot down (whether in committee or a floor vote) due to strong bipartisan opposition. But wouldn't it be nice for a state executive (who professed to be a proud gun owner on the 2010 campaign trail) to display the courage of his convictions instead of the usual DFL chanting points (e.g. "Tax the rich", "Let people marry whomever they love", etc.)?

Again, it's what Governor Mark Dayton didn't say Wednesday that should have Minnesotans just as concerned with what was actually verbalized.


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