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MN amendment initiative
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pfalstad
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 1007
Location: Edina

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll probably vote no.. Why is this a constitutional amendment anyway? And why does the allocation have to be fixed? I'm not a big fan of ballot initiatives; that's why we have a legislature. Let them decide. With the economic downturn, maybe we'll need to spend less on arts and parks more on other things.

bflentje wrote:
pfalstad wrote:
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.

I'm just saying Minnesota isn't in the top 5 for state taxes. Federal taxes don't affect that ranking, and other states have user fees too.
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butcherandswimmer
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Apr 2008

Posts: 299
Location: Richfield MN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:00 pm    Post subject: amendment for air and water Reply with quote

Remember to pass this it takes 51% og the voters all those who do not vote on this get counted as a no . This make these things hard to pass and if the writers of this can not give a plan on how this is to be spent or have a oversight committe ready to be set up it is not going to make it. The bill that Bob Lessard started with was good but now we need more info.
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sir_zman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Jun 2005

Posts: 1751
Location: Twin Cities

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: Re: amendment for air and water Reply with quote

butcherandswimmer wrote:
Remember to pass this it takes 51% og the voters all those who do not vote on this get counted as a no . This make these things hard to pass and if the writers of this can not give a plan on how this is to be spent or have a oversight committe ready to be set up it is not going to make it. The bill that Bob Lessard started with was good but now we need more info.


But even with the fact that no vote = a "No" vote, they still go the "Vote YES" transportation stuff passed last time.
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Jonas
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 672
Location: Chaska, MN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: amendment for air and water Reply with quote

sir_zman wrote:
But even with the fact that no vote = a "No" vote, they still go the "Vote YES" transportation stuff passed last time.


As per this information from the MN Secretary of State the amendment to the Minnesota constitution in 2006 to direct sales taxes on car sales to pay for transportation costs passed with 57% of voters voting "Yes".

-Jonas
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

Posts: 1846
Location: Lakeville, MN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:21 pm    Post subject: Re: amendment for air and water Reply with quote

butcherandswimmer wrote:
Remember to pass this it takes 51% og the voters all those who do not vote on this get counted as a no . This make these things hard to pass and if the writers of this can not give a plan on how this is to be spent or have a oversight committe ready to be set up it is not going to make it. The bill that Bob Lessard started with was good but now we need more info.


No it takes one vote over 50% of the voters that voted to pass. There are three possible votes that can be made, Yes, No and left blank which counts as a no. But the only votes that count are those that are made. If you don't go to the poll you are not counted.
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spinowner
Geocacher


Joined: 25 Nov 2004

Posts: 583
Location: Plymouth, MN

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dennis Anderson, the outdoor editor at the StarTribune, wrote in a column last week that the vote in the legislature to place this amendment on this year's ballot was 47-17 in the Senate and 85-46 in the house. I don't know which legislators voted for and which voted against. While this is similar to the party split in each body, one of the authors of the legislation was Senator Dennis Frederickson, a Republican from New Ulm.
It is very possible that the makeup of the House could change next Tuesday by enough that this measure could be passed through the legislature over the Governor's presumed veto. My prediction is that if the amendment fails this measure will become law (in the proper way) during the next session of the legislature.
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bflentje
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Joined: 29 May 2006

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spinowner wrote:
Dennis Anderson, the outdoor editor at the StarTribune, wrote in a column last week that the vote in the legislature to place this amendment on this year's ballot was 47-17 in the Senate and 85-46 in the house. I don't know which legislators voted for and which voted against. While this is similar to the party split in each body, one of the authors of the legislation was Senator Dennis Frederickson, a Republican from New Ulm.
It is very possible that the makeup of the House could change next Tuesday by enough that this measure could be passed through the legislature over the Governor's presumed veto. My prediction is that if the amendment fails this measure will become law (in the proper way) during the next session of the legislature.


A very dangerous precedent indeed.
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bflentje
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Joined: 29 May 2006

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I am surprised that both local rags are opposed to the amendment. Maybe there's hope for these newspapers yet..

Opponents of the measure include

the Taxpayers League of Minnesota
the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
the Minnesota Farm Bureau
the National Taxpayers Union
former U.S. senator Dave Durenberger.[5].
The Pioneer Press[6]
The Pioneer Press announced they are also opposed to the Constitutional Amendment. Their article explaining why was printed Oct 18th.
"That case was weakened when the Legislature added arts and cultural heritage funding to the mix. This was a case of piling the load too high, what the legislators call "loving it to death. Arts programs can certainly make a case for state funding, but they are not irreplaceable in the sense that our lakes and wetlands are. Plus, a theater or a museum has the added burden of proving its worth in the marketplace."
The Star Tribune[7]
The Star Tribune has announced their opposition to the Constitutional Amendment to raise your taxes. The article ran in the Sunday paper, Oct 19th.
"If the amendment is successful, it increases the likelihood that other worthy causes will line up to try to circumvent the legislative process and appeal directly for funding. This could result in the kind of government gridlock experienced in states such as California. And it would give elected officials less flexibility to address budgetary challenges in areas such as education and public safety."
Radio talk show host Joe Soucheray published an opinion piece against the sales tax hike entitled, "Outdoors tax is legislators' scam."[8] Said Soucheray, "It's bad public policy. It is an admission of failure by the Legislature to budget and prioritize. Lawmakers spend too much money while we are circling our financial wagons just to stay even."

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota released two radio ads against the sales tax hike: Radio Ad 1: Vote "no" because your budget is crunched enough.[9] Radio Ad 2: Vote "no" because you don't want to give millions of dollars to the arts.[10]


To be fair and legal, this information pulled from http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Minnesota_Sales_Tax_Increase_(2008).
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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

Posts: 3972

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voting for this amendment basically excuses the incompetence of our legislators and invites more wasteful spending at unprecedented levels. Everyone loves the arts, outdoors and clean water. But think about the ramifications if this were to pass.
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Jonas
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 672
Location: Chaska, MN

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is rare that voters get to make a decision on funding initiatives that has a direct impact on spending policy. This year it seems the Legislature has decided to ask Minnesota voters if they would be willing to pay $60 a year to expand the financial support for parks and trails in the state.

As I am not a citizen of the US, I am not allowed to vote on this issue, but if I were I would vote yes.

My take: If I, who will visit 72 state parks and recreation areas this year and who has been using park systems all throughout my time living in the state on an almost weekly basis, am not interested in supporting the park systems financially, then who is?

It sounds like the main goal of this amendment is to improve water quality and improve hunting and fishing. That is not what I find most interesting about this amendment; for me it is all about the parks and trails. Looking through the DNR numbers for FY2003, it looks like the current SP system costs about $38M/year to run. An infusion of $35M/year for parks, through the DNR or elsewhere, would seem likely to benefit me as a park user by creation of more parks, larger parks, and better park services. As I cannot afford to purchase land myself and donate to the state, voting yes on this amendment seems like it would be an easy and cost-effective way to assist in the development of park lands.

According to the Department of Revenue, the estimated tax burden per household would amount to an average of $60/year. I would find it hard for me to justify spending thousands of dollars in a year to visit all the state parks and spend hundreds of dollars to purchase tech-gear, but not being interested in spending an additional $60 to support the very same parks. Parks cost money, which someone has to pay. I would gladly pay for them and help secure their funding.

-Jonas

(These views are my own and do not represent MnGCA or the MnGCA Board.)
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minnesotabrad
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posts: 1264
Location: Brooklyn Center MN

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main problem Jonas is this bill is not just for parks and clean water. What and how you see it presented is to get people to think it is for that to try to get voters to vote yes.
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Jonas
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 672
Location: Chaska, MN

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with you. I think the DNR information is pretty straight forward about what the amendment will be used for. What I am suggesting is that to me it would be worth the $60/year investment if it results in $35M more for parks. Even if technically only $8.55 of my investment went directly to the parks. The additional $19.80 for clean water, $19.80 for hunting/fishing and $11.85 for arts is fine with me as long as I know that the parks get their funding.

-Jonas
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Mrs. Mizzou
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 31 Oct 2007

Posts: 605

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it is the money that is the issue. This is an amendment to the state Constitution to permanently allocate money for a specified purpose. That is not the purpose of the constitution. It is the obligation of the legislature to propose and pass a budget that funds and protects state interests. Passing a temporary sales tax to support the arts and keep our water clean is one thing--amending the state constitution is a bit extreme.
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minnesotabrad
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posts: 1264
Location: Brooklyn Center MN

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mrs. Mizzou wrote:
I don't think it is the money that is the issue. This is an amendment to the state Constitution to permanently allocate money for a specified purpose. That is not the purpose of the constitution. It is the obligation of the legislature to propose and pass a budget that funds and protects state interests. Passing a temporary sales tax to support the arts and keep our water clean is one thing--amending the state constitution is a bit extreme.


I agree with this statement, but most do not check what the money is for and only listen to the ads on tv. I think most only think it is going for land and clean water and do not realize some of it goes for the arts. I wonder if it would have a chance of passing if the commercials showed someone painting or sculpting and saying how important the legacy is?
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speedysk1
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 29 Oct 2007

Posts: 1991
Location: Mound MN

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No matter if you agree or disagree that this money is for a good cause or that an extra $60 is worth it, this shouldn't be passed. It's the job of the legislature to allocate money for various projects. We live in a representative republic and NOT a democracy. This sets a very bad precedent, and then where does it end? I recently heard Ron Shearer on a local radio station saying that they had tried to get this money allocated through the legislature, but were not able to get it done. Well, too bad. That is the proper method for such a request. We don't change the constitution for such requests. Think of all the money they spent to buy ads for this bill. What if they had taken that money and instead used it for clean water, arts, whatever? Seems a bit selfish to be willing to spend money to spend millions on ads, instead of putting their money where the mouths are. Or they could have used the money to run adds to persuade voters to contact their representatives to allocate more money for these endeavors.

None the less, the ads are very misleading. Nothing guarantees this money will be spent how they claim it will. Very little goes to each of the players with too little oversight. Everyone that oversees this money has a self interest in the money.

We must force our government to make hard decisions instead of giving them easy outs. That's what we elect them to do.

Ok, stepping off my soap box. Wink
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