BLOG: Why is Joe Atkins Wrong on Taxes?

Candidate for Minnesota House 52b goes on the record....

I am sure most of us have heard the famous Ben Franklin quote “but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."   

I don’t know too many neighbors who enjoy paying taxes, but they do understand that some amount of taxation is necessary to support basic community services such as police, fire, roads, and schools. This much we can agree upon. 

If we chose to organize as a state and as communities, we all share in the responsibility to pay for our share of these basic functions we entrust the government to manage.

But, the problems with taxation are many. 

Politicians like to think of themselves as ‘problem solvers’. They see an issue and they develop a program or agency to deal with it. This leads to a need for more revenue. This leads to a need to take more money out of your wallet to pay for all of it, whether the proposed ‘solution’ actually solves the problem or not.

The problem with this way of thinking is that politicians spend your money. Government has an insatiable appetite for more revenue. This trend needs to stop. 

Government cannot solve all of society’s problems; however it can create many of them through unintended consequences. I happen to believe that you can decide how to spend your money better than a politician can. People are always more frugal with their own money than someone who wants to spend it for you.

Now why do I mention all of this? 

Because Joe Atkins TWICE voted against Minnesotan’s keeping their own money.  In the 2012 House Session, I reference two specific bills: HF2337 (The Omnibus Tax Bill) and HF247 (the follow up Bill after Dayton vetoed the Omnibus Bill).  

What did Joe Atkins vote against?

The Omnibus Tax Bill reduced the tax burden for small business owners by including tax credits and phased out State property taxes paid by businesses. It also provided targeted property tax relief for homeowners. It would have provided $72 Million in tax relief. The second Bill was a scaled down version of the first which also gave a tax credit to businesses for hiring veterans.

Why is this important? Small businesses are the engine of job growth in America. 

Providing tax relief enables these businesses to reinvest and grow their businesses and create more jobs. In a troubled economy, we need as many jobs as we can get. Government must create a healthy environment for businesses to grow.

This was a great opportunity to not only help reduce our unemployment rate, but also to let you keep more of your own money. As property values continue to decline, why should you continue to pay high taxes on a home valued less?

In tough times, families tighten their belts and cut expenses. Government must do the same. I trust you to decide what to do with your money much more than I do an unelected bureaucrat. Not to mention, your money belongs to you and not to government! 

When Joe Atkins tells you he supports small businesses and keeping your property taxes low, you should look to see if his rhetoric matches his record. 

The more I look into much of that record, the more I feel it’s time for a change. As a homeowner and taxpayer of Inver Grove Heights, I don’t feel Representative Atkins has represented my interests very well.

We live better when we live free. As your Representative, I will protect your economic freedom and stand up to runaway government spending.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Al Tate October 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Here is what I don't like about this Tuschy character. He comes out attacking the other person. I am so tired of this in politics. It's both parties who do it and it's a weak move I believe. How about you just address the issues and provide solutions to today's everyday problems, topics and hot button items? Why does it always have to be an attack? This to me shows a politician who is so worried about the other person they have to try and make them look bad, not prove to constituents why he is the best person to get the job done.
Eric Goodrich October 05, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Al, while I 100% agree with you that personal attacks are wrong in politics, I think that Mr. Tuschy is really trying to educate voters on Mr. Atkins voting record. Most politicians who have been in office for a long time have developed a 'brand' and a public image. When their job performance doesn't match up with their image, someone has to shine sunlight on that record. These votes are real. (I checked out http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/ for myself) People will continue to believe that everything is fine and their Rep. is doing a good job in St. Paul until they hear otherwise. Joe isn't going to talk about these things, so I think the message is important. Looking at an elected officials record isn't an attack. It is demanded of each and every one of us before we go into the voting booth. Thomas Jefferson once said “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." I think we all need to make sure we are part of the 'well-informed' electorate. Just my two cents worth :)
Jeff Roberts (Editor) October 05, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I completely agree that voters owe it to themselves and their city/state/country to be informed about those they put in office—regardless of political affiliation. In my opinion, that is the most basic and strongest premise of democracy.
Pat October 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I disagree that this is a personal attack, it is about Atkin's legislative record. And that is fair game. Many people I have met in this district know Atkins' talking points, and think he is a 'nice guy', but they do not know how he votes. That is why the record needs to be set straight. Reasonable people can disagree on issues, but I find it unacceptable for someone to run as a conservative low-tax, pro-business, cut-spending, pro-life candidate and then rarely ever make the votes to back up that rhetoric. Sadly, many voters do not take the time to check the voting records of incumbents. If Joe Atkins is ashamed of his record, perhaps he should have been pushing the other button more often?
Joe Atkins October 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Thanks Paul, just so we are clear - you would have voted FOR the two tax bills you referenced in your blog post? While I supported the property tax relief relief in the legislation, you unfortunately left out A LOT of other unfavorable provisions that would have been bad for Minnesota and bad for folks in Inver Grove Heights.
With Paul out door-knocking and meeting voters in the area at the moment, I figured I'd chime in here... That is the rub with the current trends in crafting legislation, is it not, Joe? Every representative can hide behind their votes because there are "good" things and unrelated "bad" things" in every bill. If elected, Paul would fight to keep bills free of conflicting items so that the horse trading ceases.
Joe Atkins October 05, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Actually, Nick, the vast majority of bills voted on by the legislature deal with only a single subject. However, the two bills that Paul criticizes for me for voting against, are exactly the type of bills you say Paul will be against. Thus, it seems odd that Paul would criticize me for opposing these bills, that he, too, would have opposed.
Donald Lee October 05, 2012 at 10:42 PM
The local GOP would be more than happy to set up a conversation between Mr Atkins and Mr Tuschy on these subjects. The voters deserve to see the candidates dig in and discuss all the ins and outs of these bills. -Don Lee - Chairman, BPOU 52B Republicans
Pat October 07, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Donald Lee, that seems like a really great idea. The voters need a chance to contrast and compare the candidates vying to represent them. I hope that you will pursue this idea!
Kevin Sethre October 08, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Here here!!! Mr. Lee provides a discussion forum idea. Lest we forget; there was a time in this great land when grievances of policy were debated in an "arena of ideas" where all sides lay out their positions and allow the electorate to decide.
Robert Gough October 13, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I may be wrong but I believe Nick was trying to say that bills of this sort should not be laden with so many provisions. How would either candidate handle this "horse-trading?" And make certain that important provisions that would help set the stage for small business growth are kept while getting rid of the junk? Is it compromise, horse-trading or should the house just stop pushing bills of this sort. I guess I am confused if the provisions were bad how bad were they? If these good provisions would provide the environment for small business growth what is so bad about the rest that makes it necessary to vote against the whole thing?
Donald Lee October 13, 2012 at 07:14 PM
The MN constitution states clearly that no bill should deal with more than one subject. This requirement is routinely violated, and is a good example of current legislative practice that is not compliant with our constitution. Political discussion about the merits of legislation become hopelessly muddled if the legislation becomes a grab-bag of unrelated provisions. Unfortunately, this is common practice at the MN legislature. (Omnibus bills, Vikings stadium, big bonding bills, tax bills) These grab-bag bills are full of "compromise" and "bipartisanship", but in the end, the special interests always win, and the taxpayers always lose. We should be supporting candidates who will actually follow our constitution, which they took an oath to do, rather than those candidates who downplay our constitution, and promise "compromises" and "bipartisanship".


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