Duck Hunting Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,091 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Legislature puts outdoors/arts amendment on ballot
By MARK BRUNSWICK, Star Tribune

Last update: February 14, 2008 - 3:47 PM

A bill to let voters decide whether to increase the state's sales tax for the outdoors, the arts and the environment is headed for the November ballot after it sailed through the Minnesota House this morning and the Senate this afternoon.

It passed by 85-46 in the House and by 46-17 in the Senate.

The measure will ask voters whether the state Constitution should be amended to raise the sales tax by 3/8ths of 1 percent and dedicate the money, estimated at $276 million a year.

If approved, the increase would go into effect July 1, 2009, and end 25 years later.

Despite the overwhelming bipartisan votes, debate against the measure focused on the problematic nature of dedicating funding through the Constitution and concern that voters would be too burdened to raise the sales tax.

"It's making sure we have a long-term 25-year plan to make sure we have the resources in place, not just for our quality of life but for our kids and grandkids," said House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, the author of the bill.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, an early supporter of one of the first versions of the measure, said he opposed the amendment now because it had morphed into something that hunters, anglers and trappers would not support.

"This conglomeration of other groups that claim they have to be on this bill to get it passed. That's a bunch of baloney," Hackbarth said. He predicted the measure would fail, setting back efforts to protect the outdoors.

If voters approve the amendment, it would dedicate $54.5 million a year to the arts, $91.1 million a year to the outdoors, $39.3 million to parks and trails, $91.1 million to a clean water fund, and $4.5 million to sustainable drinking water programs.

Sen Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, raised objections about the regressive nature of adding to the sales tax, which he said unfairly targets low-income groups.

"It's not good tax policy, it's not good budgeting policy," he said.

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636

----------------

Details of the bill
Last update: February 14, 2008 - 1:27 PM

• The bill approved by the Legislature today would put this question to voters in November:

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?"

• The bill does not need the governor's signature, because it involves a proposed amendment to the state Constitution.

• For the amendment to be approved, it must get "yes" votes from a 2/3 majority of all people who vote in the November general election. Leaving the ballot question blank would count as a "no" vote.

• The money would be divided as follows: 33 percent dedicated for the outdoors; 33 percent for a clean water fund; 14.25 percent for parks and trails; and 19.25 percent for the arts.

• It's estimated that this would provide $91.1 million a year for the outdoors; $91.1 million for a clean water fund (including at least $4.5 million for drinking water programs); $39.3 million for parks and trails; and $54.5 million a year to the arts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,091 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I wanted no part of it for the Arts, and many sporsmen feel the same way. I could see the parks and trails getting a small portion, like 5% of the pie. But my thinking was to heck with the arts.

And none of us wanted a new tax. But that is not what pased the legislature. So the new tax would be $55 a year per person (275M divided by 5M people=$55+-)

So it is what it is.

So the question that each of us will have to come to grips to is this: If this does not pass, we know the habitat and waters will surely get worse. If we do pass this, all MN people help pay for it, so less of a burden on the sportsmen. And there is a very good chance we could at least stave off the waters and habitat getting worse over the next 25 years, and quite possibly there would be improvement in the water quality and habitat.

We know what will happen if we do nothing. But if we do something, at least there is a chance to change our degraded waters and habitat in MN. The DFA is a chance to do something something positive for our future. It works in MO for many years now, so why not give it a chance to work here too?

A $183M a year for 25 years ($4.6Billion) is better than zippo IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
That's an interesting tax. We had a flush tax of $2.50/month on sewer bills imposed here a couple years ago to help upgrade (loans) sewer plants in the MD portion of the Chesapeake watershed. Had some folks refuse to pay (this in a town by the bay). The folks on septic didn't get charged originally but ended up with a $30/year on their property tax bill. Another program for them to help upgrade failing systems. People still refusing to pay. This was a state tax.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
540 Posts
I guess I look at it this way. I am definitely for raising money for the outdoors. But I am not for an amendment that constantly raises more money for the so called arts and culture (Meaning non-profit organizations like public radio)
The people voted into the office have quite a bunch of cash at their finger tips. They are voted in to wisely spend this money. Thats their only job.
I believe our state had a $500 million dollar surplus a year ago that just happened to disappeared without any Legislator stating where it went. Our taxes never went down, more money never went to schools, property taxes went up, Etc... HHMMM?? Where did it go.?...
They are very willing to spend (or should I say waste) the current money on quite few projects, such as unlimited welfare, bridges that go nowhere, light-rail crammed down our throat which only gets used when the Twins make the play-off's and does absolutely NOTHING to lighten traffic loads like the brilliant State Reps said it would do, etc., etc...
Why can't the State legislature just do it's job correctly instead of constantly raising taxes. When was the last time there was a tax cut?
Our lovely state just had an amendment for transportation that was 100% marketed to help the highways.
If you read the bill it states ONLY UP TO 40% goes to the highways, and AT LEAST 60% goes to non-highway transportation (meaning Light-rail) I don't remember any of these stat's being on the TV ads and lawn signs.
I just hope the the push to pass Outdoors amendment states all the facts.

Whew!!! Sorry about the soap-box.
:soapbox: :soapbox:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
If/when it goes into effect just make sure it's a dedicated line item, if not it will be siphoned off for every other thing. As far as spending surpluses go I can tell you that you have never seen as many"worthy" projects until a government has a surplus. In my town (2000 people, I'm on the town council) in just the last month we've had proposals to: fund a bus system ( see population number) for a minimum of 100K per year, put up a statue on our boardwalk (10-30K), condemn and buy a church parking lot and put up a parking garage (min 3 mill.). Those are just the public proposals and doesn't include the ones that you hear just in conversation. Oh yes, these are all proposed by our mostly unsuccessful business community, most of whom don't own their buildings or even live in town, the town residents want us to fix the streets but the business folks don't think that's necessary. And yes I'm bashing the business people, most of whom have zero employees so it's not a matter of providing jobs. Most of these businesses are hobbies for the owners. The successful businesses NEVER ask for anything.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top