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Westrom comments on new taxes

By Sen. Torrey Westrom

 July 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year for Minnesota, and with this comes a plethora of new taxes passed by the legislative majority. The new increased taxes, which I did not support, passed in the 2013 Session totaling more than $2 billion.

A new tax on cigarettes and other forms of tobacco goes into play this month. The taxes on a pack of cigarettes will rise from $1.23 to $2.83. In addition, a one-time new cigarette tax equal to the tax increase will be imposed on business’ current inventories. This increase could negatively impact our state by forcing smokers to buy in neighboring states which would result in less revenue for us.

Minnesota’s higher-income earners will see their tax rate increase from 7.85 percent to 9.85 percent. This new rate increase will affect married people who file jointly with a taxable income of more than $250,000 and who file separately with a taxable income of over $125,000. Also included are heads of household with a taxable income of over $200,000 and single filers making over $150,000. This plan will make Minnesota’s income tax rate the 2nd highest in the nation for comparative income and the 4th highest percentage in the nation.

Farmers and all consumers will be affected by the new sales taxes on warehousing and storage. Items such as propane, fertilizer, groceries, etc… may be affected by this tax. Services like car and tractor repairs also will be subject to these new DFL taxes. In addition, there are new taxes on downloaded ringtones, music, videos, books, and online computer games.

Former DFL Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher even has concerns over these new taxes. Sales taxes were added on broadband and cellular services. There “will be slower adoption of high-speed Internet in outstate Minnesota,” stated Kelliher and that this new tax is a “step backward.”

I guess this is what happens when you tax the richest 2 percent under DFL leadership.

We need to support an efficient government rather than unnecessarily tax the people of Minnesota. Before we took another dime from hardworking taxpayers, we should have gone line-by-line through our state’s budget and first cut wasteful government spending.

To discuss these new taxes and other legislation passed this session, Representative McNamar and I will be at a town meeting on Wednesday, July 10 at 10 a.m. at the Brandon City Hall. I hope you are able to attend.

Senator Torrey Westrom (R) represents District 12, which includes all or portions of Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties.