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by Steve Timmer
Jan 30, 2021, 11:00 AM

Parsimonious twittery in the Minnesota Senate

If the legislature helped Minneapolis out to the tune of $150 million dollars, it would represent a minor diminution in the substantial annual subsidy of Greater Minnesota by Lesser Minnesota for a single year.

There has been a lot of Zoom (and some in-person, too, I think) wailing and gnashing of rural teeth by Republicans, including Senators Paul Gazelka, Julie Rosen, and that oily Cicero, John Jasinski, over the horrifying prospect of the state contributing to repair and reconstruction from the damage caused by riots in Minneapolis this summer. We’ll let Sen. Jasinski tell it.

Great One Minnesota thinking there, Sen. Jasinski, you parsimonious twit.

I’ve been following the “we’re getting robbed” baloney lament by Greater Minnesota legislators for a long time. One insight into this is to compare sales and use tax collections from various counties in Minnesota. Here are some data I got from a Department of Revenue website for 2018 sales and use tax collections, apparently the last year available, at least according to Google. Sen. Jasinski’s district is partly in Rice and partly in Steele County, so I’ll be generous — unlike the senator — and include the totals for all of both counties.

Hennepin County – $1,853,645,800 (home to Minneapolis)

Rice County – $35,742,420
Steele County – $31,616,104

The total for both counties, which again are not entirely in Sen. Jasinski’s district, is $67,358,524. One Billion Eight is more than 67 million, even Sen. Jasinski would have to agree. One is about 3.6% of the other. Faribault and Owatonna are in the senator’s district, SD24, or the disparity would be even greater.

Of course, these figures do not include income tax collections from incomes earned in these counties. I’m sure those figures would show a disparity at least as large in percentage.

If you follow the “we’re getting robbed” link above, you’ll see that rural Minnesota not only contributes much less in taxes to the state, it receives more in benefits. It’s a substantial subsidy from Lesser Minnesota to Greater Minnesota every year.

It seems small to complain about helping out Minnesota’s economic and tax engine city when it has subsidized the constituents of Sens. Jasinski, Gazelka, and Rosen for years and years.

I’m sorry; it isn’t small. It’s vicious and chickenshit.

– o O o –

Update: I enjoyed seeing how much sales tax muscle was in Sen. Jasinski’s whining about assistance for Minneapolis so much that I decided to look up the figures for the counties in Sens. Gazelka and Rosen’s districts. Gazelka and Rosen are two of the other prominent whiners on the issue. These numbers are again from the Department of Revenue webpage linked above and are sales and use tax collections for 2018.

Paul Gazelka’s district, SD9, is made up of parts of four counties.

Wadena Co. – $9,983,750
Cass Co. – $20,478,725
Todd Co. – $6,139,526
Morrison Co. – $16,092,008

Julie Rosen’s district, SD23, includes parts of five counties.

Watonwon Co. – $4,254,028
Blue Earth Co. – $73,708,498
Jackson Co. – $4,949,095
Martin Co. – $12,814,155
Faribault Co. – $5,803,385

And just so you don’t have to scroll back to the top: sales and use tax collections in Hennepin County in 2018 were One Point Eight Billion Dollars.

If Paul Gazelka represented all of each of the four counties in his district, which he doesn’t, sales tax collections would amount to 2.8% of Hennepin County’s collections.

If Julie Rosen represented all of each of the five counties in her district, which she doesn’t, sales and use tax collections would amount to 5.4% of Hennepin County’s collections.

Paul Gazelka is a truly laughable piker and scrub here; Julie Rosen does a little better, but she’s still not fit to shine the shoes of metro senators. As I said earlier, Hennepin County has poured taxes, sales and use taxes, and income taxes, too, into the state’s coffers at a disparate clip for a long time, getting proportionally a lot less back.

I think these ignorant cheapskates have a lotta damn nerve. The object of this exercise is not to try to exacerbate the urban-rural divide. But there comes a point when you have to get the mule’s attention.

You know, I should do Kurt Daudt, too. He’s been another whiner on the subject.

– o O o –

Update: Rep. Kurt Daudt, HD31A, represents a part of Isanti County. In 2018, the whole of Isanti County contributed $29,542,519 in sales and use taxes to the state. That’s 1.6% of Hennepin County’s contribution for that year.

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