For years, Minnesotans have bemoaned the fact our State Legislature has created more gridlock than road construction on an interstate highway during a holiday weekend. Year after year, the state politicos frittered their way through the legislative session, only passing a few newsworthy bills and inevitably waiting to the last minute or needing a special session to complete any mandatory work.
This year, though, the legislature has been racing along at Autobahn-like speeds, due to the fact all three branches are currently DFL controlled. But looking at what they have accomplished, I can honestly say that faster does not equal better.
Many of the politicians are proclaiming how great this session has been, especially with implementing financial relief to “those who need it most.” That is far from the truth. During their haste to get as many of these bills passed as possible, and to spend all of the over $17 billion budget surplus, these politicians wound up giving this relief to the same people over, and over, and over again, all the while completely ignoring a significant portion of the population.
For those people who chose to have kids (yes, making babies is a choice), the financial relief is extensive. At the very beginning of the session, all kids — even those from wealthy families, now will receive free lunches for the duration of their grade school lives. Upon graduation, many of these same kids will now be able to receive a free post-secondary education (which is also an optional choice). Additionally, parents will now be able to receive significant tax credits for choosing to have kids. And as a cherry on top, each kid (up to three) will give them a larger rebate check. All told, these select people have the potential of receiving tens of thousands of dollars in financial relief for completely optional expenses.
But what about people ages about 20 to 60-ish who made the choice for whatever reason to not have kids, or those whose kids are already also adults; who are also at best living paycheck to paycheck due in large part to expenses that are far from optional? Their financial relief amounts to a “whopping” $260, one-time check.
But don’t go spending that check all at once since you will now need it to help cover increased gas taxes, increased license plate tab fees, an additional fee for purchasing certain items online and an increased sales tax for purchases made in the metro area. Add to that the skyrocketing inflation rate, and well, I think you get the picture.
Then again, I guess we should try to look on the bright side. At least now we can also forget our troubles by legally becoming addicted to a mind-altering drug.
BILL STICKELS III is editor of the Isanti-Chisago County Star. He can be reached at 763-689-1181 ext. 107 or email@example.com.
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