Friday, October 10, 2008

Benson: hey, big spender!

Rep. John Benson (photo: Minnesota House of RepresentativesMinnesota Majority reported that Minnesota House District 43B Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) scored a favorable rating of ZERO out of fourteen tax-and-spending votes tracked by the organization. Benson scored an overall favorable rating of 16% across 43 votes in a wide range of issues.

Benson voted to raise taxes, against tax cuts, and against spending restraint on these occasions (search the House Journal yourself by entering the HJ page number here:
  • Increased Taxes and Government Spending: HF2268 included tax increases, increased local government aid and mandates automatic spending increases. HJ page 7575.

  • Restrict Bonding to Emergency Spending: Amendment to HF886 to reduce a pork-laden $334 million bonding bill to $8 million for emergency spending only. HJ page 2222.

  • Eliminate State Income Tax on Social Security Income: Amendment to HF3149 eliminating state income tax of Social Security income. HJ page 11320.

  • Tax Increase on Compressed Natural Gas: SF3564 imposes a 37% tax increase on compressed natural gas for transportation. HJ page 10737.

  • Omnibus Bonding Bill: Were it not for line-item vetoes, HF 380 would borrow over one billion dollars for mostly "pork barrel" spending projects. HJ page 9689.

  • Property Tax Increase: Omnibus tax bill HF3201 raises property taxes for most Minnesota property owners. HJ page 8103.

  • Limit Tax Increases on Cabins and Recreational Property: Amendment to HF3201 that would have limited property tax increases on recreational property. HJ page 8072.

  • Property Tax Freeze for Seniors: Amendment to HF3201 preventing an increase in the assessed taxable value of homes owned by senior citizens. See HJ page 8099.

  • Override Governor's Veto of Gas and Sales Tax Increases: A vote to override the governor's veto of HF2800 which increased taxes by $6.6 billion. HJ page 7889.

  • Massive Transportation Tax Increase: HF2800 created one of the single largest tax increases in Minnesota's history by raising gas, excise and sales taxes. HJ page 7883.

  • Require Referendum for Sales Tax Hike: Amendment to HF2800 that would require a referendum to raise the sales tax in affected counties. HJ page 7862.

  • Arts/Outdoors Sales Tax Increase: A historic $11 billion sales tax increase for the arts and outdoors to be approved by voters via a constitutional amendment. HJ page 7684.

  • Reduce Income Taxes in all Brackets: An amendment to HF3149 to reduce state income taxes in all brackets by 1/2%. HJ page 11297.

  • Super Majority Required to Raise Taxes: An amendment to the rules of the House requiring a 60% majority to raise taxes. HJ page 586.

This is a long list, but the scorecards from Minnesota Majority and other groups are valuable because they clearly show how each member of the legislature represents his or her district. They are not "cherry picked" votes meant to distort the record; the same votes are tracked for all members. By reviewing these scorecards for the incumbents in your district, you can cast an informed vote on November 4.

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