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Johnny_Da_Der

The Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment

169 posts in this topic

I hadn't heard about this until I ran into the booth at the State Fair a few days ago. Sounds like a good thing to me.

You can find more info at: www.yesformn.org

I know that a lot of folks in here seem to be against any sort of tax increase, but a 3/8 of 1% sales and use tax rate increase to protect our natural resources should be palatable to even the most die hard anti-tax increase sportsman.

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are and hoping that we can get the vote out to get this thing through.

I put the full text of the proposed MN Constitutional Amendment below:

Beginning July 1, 2009, until June 30, 2034, the sales and use tax rate shall be increased by three-eights of one percent on sales and use taxable under the general state sales and use tax law. Receipts from the increase, plus penalties and interest and reduced by any refunds, are dedicated, for the benefit of Minnesotans, to the following funds: 33 percent of the receipts shall be deposited in the outdoor heritage fund and may be spent only to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife; 33 percent of the receipts shall be deposited in the clean water fund and may be spent only to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation, and at least five percent of the clean water fund must be spent only to protect drinking water sources; 14.25 percent of the receipts shall be deposited in the parks and trails fund and may be spent only to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance; and 19.75 percent shall be deposited in the arts and cultural heritage fund and may be spent only for arts, arts education, and arts access and to preserve Minnesota's history and cultural heritage. An outdoor heritage fund; a parks and trails fund; a clean water fund and a sustainable drinking water account; and an arts and cultural heritage fund are created in the state treasury. The money dedicated under this section shall be appropriated by law. The dedicated money under this section must supplement traditional sources of funding for these purposes and may not be used as a substitute. Land acquired by fee with money deposited in the outdoor heritage fund under this section must be open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season unless otherwise provided by law. If the base of the sales and use tax is changed, the sales and use tax rate in this section may be proportionally adjusted by law to within one-thousandth of one percent in order to provide as close to the same amount of revenue as practicable for each fund as existed before the change to the sales and use tax.

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gotta get the word out too, cuz if someone leaves it blank it counts as a no vote.

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I think I will be voting for it. 3/8 of 1% isnt much, and clean water, clean land, and culturaly educated people are all a good thing. But get ready for the "culture is stupid"(duh) crowd. If your against all new taxes. fine. I get it. But to be against arts and education is just..... well..... you know.

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Instead of "Remember the Alamo!", "Remember the Lottery!"

Those monies were siphoned away just like this money will eventually be.

The only reason I can see someone legitimately supporting this is if they are one of the chosen who will make money from this boondoggle because they're part of a special interest group with their hands in the pie. A lot of people are eyeballing those tax dollars but not for allegedly "cleaning our waters", but rather to turn a quick profit for their own good.

Taxes are high enough in this state, plus other states seem to be dealing with the supposed problems without raising taxes.

Don't fall into the gears of the tax and spend machine. Vote NO.

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Money for these programs should come from the general fund. They need to fight with every other worthwhile program. Vote no on the amendment.

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The original bill of 3/10th of 1% (I think that's the right number) for wildlife/habitat was a good thing. But this bill is different. All the ding-a-lings got their hand in the honey pot now and ruined it. This just isn't a new tax - this is a new SLUSH FUND - uninhibited by regulation - just however they want to spend it.

Now, how many of you think that MPR needs more money? Cough-cough.

This is a bad bill that turned something really honorable into a stinky grab for money.

I'm voting no.

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If your a TRUE Outdoors person you'll vote YES!

After all who,when and where will it be proposed again to start the clean water act signed in 1970 something,with help for other outdoor sports!

I see people here with no place to hunt cause public lands are crowded,posts of how bad water quality is,Their complaining about it!

Something is better than nothing---- Vote YES!

For the arts WELL???? I sold my Tutu long ago. Its what it is proposed along with OUR sports & outdoors activities.

Vote no and dont complain of stocking Issues,No where to hunt,Fish comsumption warnings,Beach closings,Alge blooms,invasive species,fish die offs,no duck nesting areas and losing ground faster than now! possible boat landing closers,

I could go on & on!!!!

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I disagree sparcebag, how you vote does not make you a true outdoorsman.

I was going to vote yes all the way on this till I found out money from it was going to the Arts and Ent again. Cause they never get enough. I'm still up in the air. The idea that something is beter than nothing is what gets us in trouble. They want a bill like this, fine, but leave all the other [PoorWordUsage] out of it. I agree with Mongo on this one. But rest assured I'm an outdoorsman no matter which way I vote.

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If your a TRUE Outdoors person you'll vote YES!

dont complain of stocking Issues,No where to hunt,Fish comsumption warnings,Beach closings,Alge blooms,invasive species,fish die offs,no duck nesting areas and losing ground faster than now! possible boat landing closers,

I could go on & on!!!!

I'd love to see a guarantee that's going to happen!! The fact is, nothing will change other than less money in our pockets and more money in the pockets of special interest groups and buddies of the legislators.

I hope everyone looks past the "save the water" guilt trip they are trying to put on you and see what is really going to happen to your tax dollars....MORE tax dollars that is. They already jacked up the gas tax and now they want more. Isn't it about time we say enough?

Don't fall for the guilt trip. Next they'll be saying that by voting NO you're killing children or some other ludicrous statement.

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It comes out to 37.5 cents for every 100 you spend.

And there is some sort of regulation on how the money is spent:

"may be spent only to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife"

"may be spent only to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation"

"may be spent only to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance"

"may be spent only for arts, arts education, and arts access and to preserve Minnesota's history and cultural heritage"

What do you expect? That every single cent is allocated to some very specific project? If that is what you are waiting for good luck.

I can't see why someone who is a fisher-person, hunter, hiker, drinker of water out of the faucet in their kitchen, or just a lover of the great outdoors wouldn't be willing to give an extra 37.5 cents on every 100 dollars they spend.

Sometimes it seems that those among us who claim to be the biggest patriots, the biggest fans of the US of A and of MN don't want a single dollar of their hard earned money used to keep this state and this country the great place that it is for us and for future generations.

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11 Billion Dollars of taxpayer's money...all sent to pet projects across the state to benefit the few chosen ones while the residents are left with the bill again.

Come on people, you know how government works. Those words "may be spent only" are one big loophole. Any spec or quote can be written to fall under those "guidelines" to qualify. This money will be funneled away and we will have nothing to show for it. Learn from mistakes of the past or they'll just keep sticking it to us again and again if we keep ASKING to pay more for less.

Don't be a sucker for the "if you were a true sportsman" guilt trip routine.

Be a real patriot and do what's right, and that's to vote this down by voting NO. Don't be the reason for additional fleecing of America. Be the solution!

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LMITOUT - Is there any sort of tax increase you would support?

Do you support the war in Iraq?

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I was for for it at one time, now I'm not so sure.

The chances of this money going where it needs to go are about nill.

Guess I like the idea, but call it a lack of faith.

For those that say, "but they'll buy more public hunting land....", you do realize that each chunk that comes out of private hands and into the "publics", is taking prop tax revenue out of the counties and somebodies got to pay for that.

Maybe there will be some comp out of that "fund" to cover that, I don't know?

Guess if it passes, I expect not much will change out there, and if it doesn't, I don't suspect the world will end anytime soon either.

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LMITOUT - Is there any sort of tax increase you would support?

None that I can think of.

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LMITOUT - I am gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you are supporter of things like the Iraq war and you also enjoy the amenities and whatnot that we have in US like clean water, air, top-notch medical care, etc that people in Bangladesh don't.

Here is an experiment for you: Tell your boss you want a pay cut and then start spending more money. Let us know how that works out for you.

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Oh Johnny,

You seem to be up on this bill and so I will propose some questions for you- I will start with this:

1. If the general fund allocation to the DNR gets cut because of a lack of revenue can this fund be used to cover the associated costs?

2. The arts receive a generous stipend through the legislature already. Will this increase be for projects not currently funded?

3. Can these funds be used to pay for staff?

Once you answer I will ask some more questions. I am leaning towards voting NO, but could see myself voting YES once I am in the ballot box.

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I will vote no because I have seen first hand how these dedicated funds are abused. Did you know that the DNR pays a full-time employee to sit at the LCCMR hearings just to monitor those long, agonizing meetings and report back on what the legislators are up to? $100,000 a year to take notes...now that's an effective use of your tax dollars. The University of Minnesota, MPCA, and other agencies use these dedicated funds as a supplemental account for their general fund shortfalls.

Now don't misinterpret my observations. LCCMR has accomplished many worthwhile projects as well as providing employment to a lot of people...BUT the transaction costs for the worthwhile projects is incredibly high...

The LCCMR citizens groups is about as disfunctional as it gets. Ego driven internal squabbling, poor coordination with other environmental initiatives and a sycophantic relationship with the agencies that are funded...dominantly a metro-centric, eco-colonial group with little geographic perspective.

And now we want to dedicate more funds to a similar administrative structure???

I'd rather have these projects compete with with the other needs of this state, rather than provide more guarenteed employment and questionable funding for initiatives that have not resulted so far in demonstrably cleaner water, effective wetland restoration, and/or environmental agencies that are actually working together toward these goals.

Quiz for the day: What dedicated environmental fund contributed to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN and who was the chief senate sponsor????

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Originally Posted By: Johnny_Da_Der
LMITOUT - Is there any sort of tax increase you would support?

None that I can think of.

Why do taxes have to go up to get things done. If you pay X% of your pay, property tax, sales tax and everything else, when you get a pay raise, buy bigger ticket items, etc., isn't the gov't in turn getting more money just by the sheer percentage? Where does that money go?

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Here is an experiment for you: Tell your boss you want a pay cut and then start spending more money. Let us know how that works out for you.

Here's an experiment for you: Go to you boss and tell him that the fishing sucks around you and you now have to drive an hour or more away to find good fishing. You want a pay raise to offset the cost of gas. Let us know how that works out for you.

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Here are my thoughts, and fro earlier conversations some may know I am a firm YES.

I don't like taxes any more than many of the no voters. But here is one thing (tax) that will be going to something I value, and I think worthwhile (not the arts, but the MN lands and water). It is not saying I like it more, or am better sportsmen, or whatever than no voters. But for me it would be worth it.

We (collectively, business, farms, resident's of expanding cities, etc.) have ignored, for whatever reason, or at least not worked hard enough to help try to fix some of the evils done to the MN landscape for years, dozens of years. This is one thing that could help. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. It will cost money, maybe we should wait longer and let the status quo try to work things out. But I think this would help be a jump start in the right direction.

If this was something I didn't give a $%^& about, then I would be a no. If people hate and/or don't trust government or a citizens committee enough, and want to vote no, that's fine, I am not going to argue about it anymore. I just think it is worth it to me. I hope there are plenty more like me, we shall see!

I am a firm YES. Thanks to other YES voters as well smile

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Allow me to first point out that I believe it is a charge of the state to be involved with protecting our environment. I enjoy our resources including fishing, hunting, bike riding, camping, hiking, x/c skiing, berry picking, nature walks, clean water, clean air, etc. I try to manage my farm with conservation in mind as much as I can; protecting the watershed, controlling erosion, providing habitat for plant life and wildlife like flora, trees, native grasses, pheasants, deer, waterfowl, song birds, and even pests and plant life that I don’t particularly care for.

I have to wonder though. From other threads it is clear there are many that frown on how our farmers are subsidized by the farm bill. Since we frown on something that does to some degree have an importance in terms of our national security, why then are we so eager to support laws that mandate the state would subsidize the arts and entertainment industries? These certainly are not even remotely a matter of state importance or security.

I think the question we need to ask however is whether we really need to impose even more taxes upon ourselves; especially when so many feel the crunch from rising costs in housing, property taxes, food (up +50% in past year), fuel (up 300% in past 4 years), electricity (up 40% in past year), etc. The average local, state, and federal tax burden for a Minnesota citizen already exceeds $11,000.00 per year. Along with this add our recent school referendum that could add up to a couple hundred dollars to our property taxes. Shouldn’t we be holding our government spending in check as much as we must hold our own? How much is enough?

Admittedly, for some of us including myself the increase in sales tax would not make or break us but for those struggling to make ends meet this could add salt to an already festering wound. A little here and a little there eventually adds up. Furthermore, with the current economic situation it stands to reason that the number of those struggling will continue to climb. There is no tax deduction or exemption that will help them either. Everyone pays sales tax at the same rate regardless of ability to pay. When you consider that those same people probably find it difficult to afford the licenses and permits that would allow them to take advantage of many of the very benefits the added tax will provide, they would endure a double shot in the shorts.

If our legislators want to do us a favor by dedicating some of our tax dollars to the environment, wildlife, and the arts then go for it but do it within the confines of the existing budget just like you and I must do with ours. We can pass an amendment requiring dedicated funds but let’s review our priorities and make it a specific portion of our current annual state budget and not an added tax. Our family incomes have been dropping rapidly relative to cost of living and now we are going to be asked to make it even worse. We can’t keep adding more taxes every time someone has a pet project to endorse. That’s irresponsible money management.

The legislators can get the funding they need by improving the state budget through smart legislation and good money management. When they get the economy rolling the tax dollars will roll in. Let’s hold them accountable for the job we have hired them to do! I would like a lot of things in life too but sometimes I just have to be content with what I have.

I say vote no. NOT because I don’t support the goals of the amendment but because I think we can be smarter and we deserve better from our legislature.

Bob

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Nice summary, Bob. The money is already there...just set some priorities and hold agencies accountable.

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I will absolutely be voting NO, and encouraging everyone else I know to do the same. As mentioned above, this will be just like the lottery funds, and end up in the general fund.

I would much rather pay 2x's the current license fees, and have the money go directly to the DNR for necessary projects, than give another red cent to the general fund (or the arts). Another fine example of government in progress.

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