Governor promotes tax cuts, criticizes lawmakers

Latasha Webb

Gov. Jesse Ventura told members of the Minnesota Taxpayers Association on Thursday the average homeowner and apartment owner will not have to fund public education through property taxes and could see cuts of 24 percent and 25 percent on those taxes if Ventura’s tax cut plan passes.

The $847 million bill would use state sales and income taxes in lieu of property taxes to partially fund public education.

“I have challenged the education system in this state to make the most of the state funding they receive,” Ventura said at MTA’s 75th annual meeting.

Under the bill, business owners and cabin owners would get tax cuts of 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

The governor is expected to sign the bill today.

Transportation, health and human services, and K-12 education bills also remain unresolved. These must be passed before July 1, the deadline for a government shutdown.

“It looks like we can finish the job we started,” Ventura said.

“Under the circumstances, we couldn’t do it all,” he added. “It’s time to do what we can, celebrate our success and then move forward.”

The Legislature was nearing approval of a K-12 education finance bill Thursday. But the House and Senate disagreed over language regarding teacher contract settlement.

The transportation committee is at odds over the fairness of a bill that would give Metro Transit a $30 million increase but no new money for road or bridge projects.

Several issues hinder passage of a health and human services bill. They include welfare benefit extensions, possible additional funding for autistic children, and abortion language.

“It would be a shame to shut down part of the state government because they insist on putting social language in omnibus bills,” Ventura said.

When an MTA member asked Ventura if his membership in the Independence Party might be partially to blame for the extended special session, Ventura replied, “(The delayed budget agreement) has nothing to do with tri-partisan politics.”

He asked the audience if they believed the Legislature has the courage to try a
unicameral system.

“Why can’t we try an efficient government?” Ventura asked MTA members. “We can always go back to an inefficient one.” He added not only does the Legislature lack the courage to try a new system but their behavior has the founding fathers turning in their graves.

“I’m the only governor in history that met with every conference committee,” he said. “There’s no excuse, ladies and gentlemen, why this session couldn’t have been concluded May 21.”

Latasha Webb covers the Legislature and welcomes comments at [email protected]