Senate Leadership Proposes Huge Tax Increase

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) strongly opposes efforts by members of the Minnesota state senate to increase taxes on hard-working Minnesotans.

"A $4.23 billion spending shortfall is no reason to hike taxes and every reason to cut spending," commented Grover Norquist, President of ATR.

Before their scheduled May 19, 2003 adjournment, the DFL-controlled Senate and the GOP-controlled House will have to reconcile several points of contention, such as:

· The Senate budget plan would cut spending by only $1.2 billion, while the House plan would cut spending by $2.4 billion.

· The Senate budget plan calls for a $1/pack cigarette tax increase and an income tax increase for the top 5% of income-earners, affecting couples who earn more than $250,000 and single people earning more than $135,000. The total cost to taxpayers of the cigarette and income tax hikes surpasses $1 billion/year.

· The Senate budget plan also calls for a 5c/gallon gas tax increase to pay for transportation and transit spending.

· The House plan does not include any tax increases.

"I aplaud those members of the Minnesota legislature who have remained steadfast in their opposition to tax increases. I also commend Governor Tim Pawlenty for keeping his pledge to Minnesotan taxpayers that he will oppose tax increases," continued Norquist.

"And I agree with Minnesota\\\’s Finance Commissioner, Dan McElroy, who recently remarked upon Minnesota\\\’s habitual overspending, \\\’This is a 30-year problem. We have to slow the rate of spending.\\\’

"Mr. McElroy is absolutely correct. I encourage every member of the Minnesota Legislature to work to find a solution to the problem of overspending, rather than looking to plug the budget with tax increases or additional revenues. Minnesotans deserve a state budget that they can afford."