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Taxes, recreational marijuana, dogs vs. cats: Where Minnesota’s legislative leaders stand on the critical issues

Courtesy of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
From left: Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and KSTP reporter Tom Hauser.

During the annual “Session Priorities” dinner of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, a panel of legislative leaders was asked a series of questions by host Tom Hauser.

A fixture of his Sunday interview program “At Issue” on KSTP, Hauser’s lightning round asks guests to give one-word answers to questions both serious and silly. Here are the questions and answers from DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park; House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown; Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa; and Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook:

Q: Dog or cat?

Daudt: Dog

Hortman: Dog

Gazelka: Dog

Bakk: Fish

Q: Single payer health insurance: yes or no?

Daudt: No

Hortman: Eventually

Gazelka: No

Bakk: Not yet

Q: Tax conformity bill: January or May?

Daudt: Now

Hortman: May

Gazelka: NOT January

Bakk: Maybe not

Q: Business permitting: onerous or appropriate?

Daudt: Onerous

Hortman: (pause) It depends (afterward, Hortman added, “It depends on your perspective.”)

Gazelka: Onerous

Bakk: Difficult

Q: Transit: light rail or Bus?

Daudt: Bus

Hortman: Both

Gazelka: Bus

Bakk: Both

Q: Redistricting: can’t wait or too soon?

Daudt: Too soon

Hortman: More time needed

Gazelka: No court needed

Bakk: It’s gonna make me run in ‘20

Q: Sunday morning, church or “At Issue?”

Daudt: Both

Hortman: Newspaper

Gazelka: Sorry, Tom

Bakk: I have to go to church

Q: Increase in the gas tax?

Daudt: No

Hortman: Maybe

Gazelka: No

Bakk: Yes

Q: Twitter or Instagram?

Daudt: Instagram

Hortman: Twitter

Gazelka: Twitter

Bakk: Neither

Q: Extend the health care reinsurance program?

Daudt: Yes

Hortman: Yes

Gazelka: Yes

Bakk: Probably can’t afford it

Q: Recreational marijuana: legalize or decriminalize?

Daudt: It’s a federal issue

Hortman: There’s no rush on that

Gazelka: Neither

Bakk: Not yet

Q: Autonomous vehicles and when: five years or 25 years?

Daudt: Five years (afterward, Daudt said it would be less than five years)

Hortman: 10

Gazelka: 10

Bakk: 10, but only in First Class cities (cities with more than 100,000 residents)

Q: Hands free cellphone law: yes or no?

Daudt: It’s gonna happen

Hortman: Yes

Gazelka: Yes

Bakk: It will depend on the penalty. (Bakk added that some bills make violations a felony which, he said, would trigger more debate)

Q: Funding for opioid response: state general fund or from drug industry?

Daudt: General fund

Hortman: Industry

Gazelka: Small industry contribution

Bakk: Providers

Q: Renewable energy mandates: yes or no?

Daudt: No

Hortman: Definitely

Gazelka: No

Bakk: I have a long answer and if I don’t get to use it I’ve got to say no

Q: Special session: yes or no

(answered in reverse order)

Bakk: Not up to me

Gazelka: Help me out Tom, No

Hortman: Hopefully not

Daudt: (in reference to Hortman’s answer and an earlier joke by Hauser) So you learned that’s a 75 percent chance.


Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/11/2019 - 09:47 am.

    So the DFL leaders want to raise taxes on the poor and middle class.


    Answer? that is where the money is.

    • Submitted by Scot Kindschi on 01/11/2019 - 11:46 am.

      Legalize recreational marijuana and all of taxes go down. And, as I recall, Dayton raised taxes Minnesota’s wealthiest, and that, is where the money is. You seem to have confused the two parties.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/11/2019 - 12:30 pm.

        I’m old enough to remember when the lottery was going to be the answer to raising taxes.

        Pardon my skepticism about taxes on Mary Jane.

  2. Submitted by John N. Finn on 01/11/2019 - 01:26 pm.

    Never mind those. Will this finally be the year that law enforcement is prohibited from critically profiling Harley bikers? Bill again introduced already.

  3. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 01/11/2019 - 07:57 pm.

    Politicians don’t believe people move from Minnesota because the taxes are so high. They do. We have 1.5 in reserve. Now they want to raise taxes again.Raising on the wealthy will never be enough. The 2nd highest bracket is 72K. That is a teacher or fireperson.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/13/2019 - 11:48 am.

      Politicians don’t believe it because its not true. Its a myth that gets repeated over and over.

      • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 01/13/2019 - 07:13 pm.

        Pat, don’t delude yourself. Those who can move are moving. The high property taxes make it difficult to unload a house. One of the highest state income taxes in the country make it harder for your area to attract higher income earners to buy these homes. It is beyond me how people continue to fall for the notion that high taxation equates to a better quality of living.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/14/2019 - 01:21 pm.

          No delusion necessary. Just actual facts. When choosing a place to live, there a lot of other factors to consider other than tax rates, including the things that state spends those taxes on.

  4. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 01/12/2019 - 01:15 pm.

    I moved from Minnesota to a state that has a more friendly taxation policy and haven’t regretted it. And contrary to those who equate high taxation to good quality of living, I’m doing just fine.

    And tax on marijuana? Absolutely. Let the users pay it. It becomes voluntary when they chose to light that joint. Tax everything with an abuse potential.

  5. Submitted by Mike martin on 01/14/2019 - 09:56 pm.

    MN lowest income tax rate is 5.85%. Millionaires in 23 states pay lower rates than that. Doesn’t this show low income taxpayers in MN pay high rates too?

    Dems says they are concerned about the poor, then raise sales taxes (Hennepin County) and want to raise the gas tax. Both of which every economist & intelligent person knows are regressive. Meaning poor people pay a higher percentage of their income in sales & gas taxes than middle income & rich people

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