Monday, August 01, 2005

Mpls Star Tribune Strategy to "Fix" What They Broke

Minnesota has a number of new laws which take affect today. Last spring the county in which I live passed a law which bans smoking in bars and restaurants. So, you ask, what's the blowback on this? Well, the bars figure their revenues are down by approximately 40% and for small businesses with narrow margins this means many bars going out of business. Remember, this business loss is before the cold weather hits. Today, the state enacted a 75cent "Health Impact Fee" on a pack of cigarettes. Yes, that's with a Republican Governor and Republican House. In fact, the faux tax increase was proposed by Governor Tim Pawlenty and many Republicans supported the increase. It will be interesting to see the downturn in sales revenue from smoking products since all a smoker has to do is go to Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota or Iowa to purchase their products. Wonder how these wonderful legislators will spin the loss of revenue cause you know they won't blame the faux tax increase.

I forgot, there's also the $1 increase in the minimum wage which starts today. That will help the bars and restaurants alot too! Course, this will help the unions in MN which if my understanding is correct the unions use the minimum wage to calculate different hourly rate bases (i.e. 2$ above the minimum wage) so this will automatically give an unexpected increase to union workers. All State of MN workers are members of a union so this should give them their automatic increase. Not sure about the Teachers in the State. I'm sure the domino affect of this minimum wage increase will reverberate without retribution to the State legislators since all business is evil to most of the socialist democrat types in this State.

Course, the Mpls Strib goes one step further. According to them now is the time to enact a statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. You know, to just level the playing field. That's the way these Socialists do things, incrementalism. Creeping nanny-ism. Then of course, with a loss in revenue and this state has no idea how to EVER slow spending (we're not even talking about cutting spending) they will just have to increase income taxes and sales taxes or hey why not - BOTH.

Here's my suggestion: Minnesota should change the sales tax exemption for newspapers. See the Mpls. Strib loves ALL taxes unless of course it applies to them. Just think, with those circulation numbers the Mpls. Strib "Claims" to have the state could rake in millions, maybe billions in tax revenue.

From the Strib:

Hennepin County Board members who supported the ban in the first place presumably understood that instituting it would protect public health. So, if they want a level playing field, why aren't they publicly pressing the Legislature to pass a statewide ban instead of considering a retreat to match St. Paul's lesser protection?
At the state level, it is often argued that you can't do a statewide ban until several localities go first. Well, they've already gone first. That means it's time for the Legislature to act.
Editorial: Don't retreat/Push for statewide smoking ban

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