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MN amendment initiative
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Jonas
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 672

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: MN amendment initiative Reply with quote

I am a proponent to keep election politics out of these discussion forums but this election cycle there is an amendment initiative in Minnesota that could have an impact on our sport in the state.

It is The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that will be asked of voters in Minnesota at the November 4th elections. The ballot initiative reads:
Code:
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?

As per DNR information, if this amendment is implemented an estimated $35 million will be made available in 2010 to support parks and trails.

Campaign Information against:
http://www.nosalestaxincrease.org
Campaign Information for:
http://www.yesformn.org

Feel free to discuss in this thread.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5703

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Re: MN amendment initiative Reply with quote

Jonas wrote:

As per DNR information, if this amendment is implemented an estimated $35 million will be made available in 2010 to support parks and trails.


My only question/concern regarding this and geocaching in particular is how much of this land is or will be open to caching? The descriptions you quote sound an awful lot like WMAs (which are closed to caching)..
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speedysk1
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 29 Oct 2007

Posts: 1991

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I'm not opposed to what they want to do, I'm not a big fan of taxes especially being in a high tax state. MN is consistently in the top 5 highest taxed states in the nation. If you keep feeding this beast we call government, they will keep begging for food. I'd rather them look and see where they can find the money. The government is a bloated pig. A private company could never survive running a business like the government does.

Secondly, in a down economy, raising taxes is a bad idea. People are already struggling, this would be kicking them while they are down.

Even as an avid hunter/outdoorsman/cacher, I plan to vote no.
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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

Posts: 4051

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no guarantee of jack. Remember Powerball?? And don't forget to list the other useless initiatives this exploitation will allegedly help fund.

Isn't the economy in enough shambles.. with Congress just having passed a $700+ billion waste of time bail out package, I'll think we'll be on the hook for enough cash.

VOTE NO ON THIS INITIATIVE.

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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

Posts: 4051

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, the reliable local press is stating that the majority of Minnesota is for the new amendment. Just who are these people that have enough cash to be able to afford the overall tax rate in this state????????? Or, maybe, the press is just filling us with a line of crap.
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LucidOndine
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 17 Jan 2006

Posts: 1931

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting bit, thanks Jonas. I'm going to do some more reading on it and I'll try to post back later after I've made a more informed opinion.
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Arcticabn
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Joined: 30 Nov 2003

Posts: 1846

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like the idea of raised taxes particularly in this state. But I am more concerned about how the various land management agencies will implement the protection aspect.

It's not just a matter of raising funds. It will be the restrictions that these agencies will be allowed to place on the land that is not voted on by the amendment but assumed by the LM organizations because the amendment passed.
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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arcticabn wrote:
I don't like the idea of raised taxes particularly in this state. But I am more concerned about how the various land management agencies will implement the protection aspect.

It's not just a matter of raising funds. It will be the restrictions that these agencies will be allowed to place on the land that is not voted on by the amendment but assumed by the LM organizations because the amendment passed.


Just remember that it's an all or nothing deal. There is more than just the environment and land management at issue here. They also want to fund culture and the arts and other things. It might be important to some. But as you know, culture and arts can be defined as nearly anything!!!!
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bflentje
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Joined: 29 May 2006

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be sure to check out the language of the amendment. The language in the amendment only says the money will be allocated among four purposes: $3.64 billion for water quality; $3.64 billion for wildlife habitat; $2.13 billion for arts and cultural resources; and $1.58 billion for parks and trails. It does not define a SINGLE DETAIL.


Wouldn't you want to know how it's going to be spent?? VOTE NO

Is this the purpose of our state Constitution?? VOTE NO


The bottom line is, we vote people into office to spend our money wisely. We don't vote them into office to DREAM UP NEW WAYS to extract more money from your family's budget.
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spinowner
Geocacher


Joined: 25 Nov 2004

Posts: 587

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how I'll vote on this. I am rarely swayed by blanket statements like "We pay too much taxes already" or "We should always vote yes on school referendums". I think statements like that lead to (and result from) not fully analyzing each individual issue. A government program either is worth the expense or it's not.
I tend to disagree with the point of view that running the government should be compared to running a business. There are many worthwhile endeavors (such as education) that, in my opinion, are best handled by following models other than a business model. While the business model may be appropriate for some aspects of govenment, I am of the opinion that much, if not most, of the time it is not.
The main reason I am considering a vote against in this case is that I have trouble with the technique of amending the constitution to force an issue unless the constitution currently prohibits the action desired by the proponents. In this case I believe the funds for this program could legally be authorized by the legislature and so that's where the matter should be handled. But I also think that the proposed spending would probably be money well invested, so I'm torn. I'll have to give it more thought.
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bflentje
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spinowner wrote:
The main reason I am considering a vote against in this case is that I have trouble with the technique of amending the constitution to force an issue unless the constitution currently prohibits the action desired by the proponents. In this case I believe the funds for this program could legally be authorized by the legislature and so that's where the matter should be handled. But I also think that the proposed spending would probably be money well invested, so I'm torn. I'll have to give it more thought.


Forget my anti-tax position, your statement here IS THE KEY to this entire issue. Think of the precedent that is being set? Where would it stop?

The second most important issue is the complete lack of definition, espcially when it comes to arts and culture. I understand its importance in society but it can really mean anything. I mean, think about it. In some gallery out east, there is a depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary smeered with fecies which is being sold as art. Forget the fact that it's complete and utter disrespect of a Christian symbol. It ain't art.
And by the amendment, if it were in MN, it would be eligible to receive public funding. An extreme case that would never happen?? Maybe. But with the complete lack of definition, YOU DON'T KNOW FOR SURE.
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pfalstad
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 1013

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not usually swayed by anti-tax arguments, and I am concerned about clean water.. But a constitutional amendment?? I'll have to think about this.

speedysk1 wrote:
MN is consistently in the top 5 highest taxed states in the nation.

I don't think this is true anymore. Looks like we're around #12. I was surprised to see my taxes go down when I moved back here, because I'd always heard about how high MN taxes were.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/462.html
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spinowner
Geocacher


Joined: 25 Nov 2004

Posts: 587

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bflentje wrote:
spinowner wrote:
The main reason I am considering a vote against in this case is that I have trouble with the technique of amending the constitution to force an issue unless the constitution currently prohibits the action desired by the proponents. In this case I believe the funds for this program could legally be authorized by the legislature and so that's where the matter should be handled. But I also think that the proposed spending would probably be money well invested, so I'm torn. I'll have to give it more thought.


Forget my anti-tax position, your statement here IS THE KEY to this entire issue. Think of the precedent that is being set? Where would it stop?

The second most important issue is the complete lack of definition, espcially when it comes to arts and culture. I understand its importance in society but it can really mean anything. I mean, think about it. In some gallery out east, there is a depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary smeered with fecies which is being sold as art. Forget the fact that it's complete and utter disrespect of a Christian symbol. It ain't art.
And by the amendment, if it were in MN, it would be eligible to receive public funding. An extreme case that would never happen?? Maybe. But with the complete lack of definition, YOU DON'T KNOW FOR SURE.


The lack of definition is also troubling, which is another reason that this is best handled by the legislature. If you've ever seen any state law written out you'll know how detailed the provisions can be, and this is an example of how legislators (and the governor) can and should specify exactly where the money goes. That's what we, the voters, empower them to do. And if they do something we don't like, well, that's what elections are for.

Regarding the precedence issue, I don't worry about that. Since each amendment requires a public vote all we need to do is vote no if we feel it's getting out of hand. No big deal.
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bflentje
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pfalstad wrote:
I'm not usually swayed by anti-tax arguments, and I am concerned about clean water.. But a constitutional amendment?? I'll have to think about this.

speedysk1 wrote:
MN is consistently in the top 5 highest taxed states in the nation.

I don't think this is true anymore. Looks like we're around #12. I was surprised to see my taxes go down when I moved back here, because I'd always heard about how high MN taxes were.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/462.html


Those numbers are not the overall tax burden to a Minnesota resident. You have to factor in everything, including everything at the Federal level, everything that isn't a tax, but really is.. as Pawlenty calls them, user fees, EVERYTHING.

And who doesn't want clean water? But the state Constitution is not the place for it. Our local, county, state and Federal authorities are constantly monitoring watersheds and handling watershed issues. Not sure why it needs an amendment.
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bflentje
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spinowner wrote:
Regarding the precedence issue, I don't worry about that. Since each amendment requires a public vote all we need to do is vote no if we feel it's getting out of hand. No big deal.


Sure. But it isn't that simple. Our legislators and government officials can waste hundreds of hours, and millions of dollars, on other amendment issues just to be voted down. The precedent, even if the public weighs in at the voting booth, is still a WASTE. A waste of OUR money. There are other processes in place today to handle these issues and too many other things to work on.
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