State Senate Sean Nienow
1: I think it’s unwise to not wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, but it’s a personal safety decision for individual riders to make, not for government to require. I’m ambivalent on legalizing Sunday liquor sales, but local municipal liquor stores tell me they believe it will increase costs without increasing sales. They mostly like the current law. I would only support applying sales tax to internet purchases if the overall tax rate was also lowered to prevent a net sales-tax increase on Minnesota consumers. I'm comfortable with the current Constitutional Amendment process, which is what the original Framers established. 2: Abortion is one of many issues to draw a clear contrast between my opponent and myself- I am unequivocally pro-life and my opponent unabashedly pro-abortion. Specific to the question about RU486 – that product is an abortifacient (it precipitates an abortion) and is almost never administered/successful by only utilizing RU486- it requires additional drugs and/or procedures and typically requires multiple visits to a physician’s office over a period of days to ensure safe and complete success. To date 15 women have died when they used RU486 as a process for aborting. With those facts, and with that understanding, it would seem reasonable that a physician be present when starting an abortion process that way. 3: I have no “Ideal” target percentage of the state budget for taxes paid by employers, and the percentage they contribute to the state budget will always change year to year based on the strength of the economy and other variables. The reasons increasing taxes on employers is a bad idea are multiple. Not only does increasing a tax on an employer take away money that could go toward job creation (one reason why almost every economist will say a tax increase during a recession is a very bad idea), but tax increases simply become a cost of doing business and the business mostly doesn’t pay for that – we do. Non-partisan researchers at the State Capitol determined that roughly two-thirds of business tax increases are passed along and borne by middle-income families in the form of higher prices, and lower wages. Those non-partisan researchers showed us that when government increases taxes on employers, government will in a very real sense create a pass-through tax increase on middle income earners. 4: Local Government Aid (LGA) does not specifically tax certain areas, with the purpose of redistributing to other areas. LGA is merely an appropriation in the state budget which is then distributed via a set formula to determine eligibility. Philosophically, I'm not opposed to State Government financially helping with legitimate needs. I would like to see the system for that completely restructured to created better accountability and transparency for taxpayers.
State Senate Jeske Noordergraaf
Motorcycle helmets - yes, look at the statistics. Liquor stores open on Sunday - yes State sales tax on internet sales - yes and I had mentioned this at one of the forums. More than a simple majority to put amendment on ballot - yes 1: I believe that women should be able to make their own decisions about their health care and have access to many options. The decisions that women make should be between themselves, their doctor and their family. There have been amazing advances made in medical treatments and the decision about what treatment to choose and what protocol to follow is a personal one and one that should not be dictated by the government whether it involves ending a pregnancy or trying to become pregnant. Proponents of the marriage amendment even believe that artificial reproductive technology violates the dignity of the child. Will this option be taken away next? Women who choose to use the RU486 pill follow a very stringent protocol with three doctor appointments which makes it expensive but they are fully informed before choosing this option. It is therefore unnecessary for a physician to be present when the medication is administered. Many medications have serious side effects as I learned when undergoing chemotherapy as part of my cancer treatment. It is a matter of personal, informed choice. 2: I established a business in Chisago County in 1995 and ran it successfully for 16 years before selling it to my associate. If we reduce the amount of income taxes that businesses pay, the amount of taxes that individuals pay must increase. However, reducing the taxes that businesses pay would help with employment as the savings could pay for more employees. Before making significant changes, the budget deficit needs to be addressed, spending cuts will need to be made and the state revenue needs to continue to increase. Last year business property taxes increased adding to the burden on business owners, we should start by looking at this cost to businesses first. 3: I am a Sunrise township supervisor. The townships used to receive part of the Local Government Aid. The purpose of LGA was to distribute these monies to help MN cities and townships bridge the gap between cost of services and ability to raise revenue. To provide the same services to residents, more now needs to come from us increasing this portion of our taxes. Both Chisago and Isanti counties rely mostly on personal property taxes rather than those from industries which is why we were hit so hard in our property tax bill this year. I support re-evaluating this program. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my opinions.
The questions sent to state candidates:
The Minnesota State Fair provides a booth where people are surveyed on legislative issues and the House Information Office summarizes what fair-goers had on their mind. This first set of questions is based on the state fair input, your yes or no answer is sufficient: ~ Motorcyclists ought to be required to wear helmets. ~ Liquor stores ought to be able to be open on Sundays. ~ State sales tax ought to be extended to items purchased on the Internet. ~ The legislature needs to make it so more than just a simple majority vote is needed to put an amendment on the ballot, when seeking to amend the constitution. Talk a little about recent bills introduced to restrict women’s access to the RU486 pill. One bill tried to mandate a medical doctor be present when “administering” this pharmaceutical. And, more broadly, explain your views on the role that government has in dictating healthcare options for women? Last year it was reported in a session of the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee that business pays about 31 percent of the state’s incoming taxes and residents (via income, property tax, etc) about 65 percent. Legislative leaders and campaign materials can’t talk enough about reducing Minnesota businesses’ taxes. Assuming you agree business taxes need cutting, what is the preferred percentage of our state budget that business should support, and how do you get there? What’s your philosophical stand on what’s commonly called Local Government Aid? Should the state collect revenues from well-serviced and developed areas where large industry and commerce wants to locate, and redistribute revenues as aid to poorer cities and counties? And, please don’t just respond that LGA is a broken system, and can’t be applied fairly at all. How do you react to the premise? Is it even a good idea?