Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why Legislative elections matter

Written by David Faith, SD44gop.org

Amidst the drama and 24/7 coverage of a Presidential campaign, it can be easy to lose track of state and local races. People have a tendency to think that bigger means more important and the federal government is obviously bigger than Minnesota’s.

State politics is poorly covered by the media and there are many otherwise well-informed citizens that couldn’t tell you who their state representative is. This is a problem because state and local governments have enormous power over citizens living in their jurisdictions. This is a problem because the state of Minnesota has a governor champing at the bit to raise your taxes dramatically in order to fund an enormous and likely-permanent expansion of state government. This is a problem because the only thing standing in that governor’s way is a Republican legislature.

An examination of the DFL platform and the governor’s agenda reveals exactly what they plan for Minnesota. Let’s take a look at just a few key elements.
  • Regulation – The DFL’s official party platform shows an astonishing faith in government regulation of private activity. It endorses “reasonable” regulations of “fair competition,” regulations of prices, environmental regulations, regulations of labor, regulations of businesses, and regulation of investment. It endorses requiring more government inspections, more government licensing, and even more government supervision of the election process. The platform never says precisely what “reasonable” regulations entail, but you can be certain that “reasonable” means “more.” This is despite the fact that we are already living in the most regulated society in American history. To cite just one example, in the 1950’s less than 5% of occupations required a license from the government. Now people in nearly 30% if occupations must obtain permission from the government before they can even practice their trade. If you think we should turn more power over to government officials to decide what we can and cannot do then the DFL platform is for you.
  • Taxes – Mark Dayton is famous for being perhaps the most pro-tax governor in America. He has repeatedly advocated raising taxes and in the last legislative session vetoed a Republican effort to provide moderate tax relief to Minnesota businesses struggling with the comparatively unfriendly tax environment in this state. Unusually even for a Democrat he has waxed poetic about his love of taxes, calling them “the lubricant for the machine of democracy” and the “fuel of our social engine.” He flippantly declared “Read my lips, tax the rich.” Last year he proposed raising state taxes to 10.95%, the highest in the nation, on “rich” folks making the Donald-Trump-like sum of $85,000/year. Make no mistake, Dayton’s views on taxes reflect the DFL’s platform of “progressive” taxation, and it is only the steadfastness of our Republican legislators that has prevented him from enacting his tax policies so far.
  • Religious Freedom – The DFL platform mentions separation of church and state twice, but curiously does not refer to the general constitutional rule preventing an establishment of religion under state authority. Instead the DFL endorses “separation of church and state” with regards to particular pet issues, including right to privacy, school curriculum and educational funding. To translate, the left has historically used “right to privacy” to advance their views on social issues, so “separation of church and state” in respect to privacy means that the DFL wants churches to butt out of social issues and to force churches to fund family planning and other practices that worshipers consider contrary to their religious beliefs. “Separation of church and state” as to education means that religious viewpoints are not welcome in schools and that the state should discriminate against religious schools by denying them, and only them, access to state funds generally available for other educational institutions (including other private institutions). The DFL platform also advocates taxing certain property of tax-exempt (often religious) organizations. Unsurprisingly, one thing you will not find in the DFL platform is an endorsement of the free exercise clause of the United States Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom against governmental interference.
  • Second Amendment – The DFL platform advocates “reasonable firearm policies.” Three guesses what that means, and the first two don’t count.
Minnesota’s legislative elections this year matter, perhaps more than ever, because there is a clear distinction between the Dayton/DFL agenda and that advocated by our Republican legislature. If you want to live in a state with low taxes, fewer regulations, freedom of conscious and the right to bear arms, then it is vital that you get out there and support your state legislative candidates by giving of your time, your money, or at the very least, your vote.

David Faith is Vice Chair At Large of the SD44 Republicans. This post originally appeared on SD44gop.org.

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