On Tuesday, Minnesota Secretary of State candidate Mark Ritchie called on his opponent, Republican incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer, to reduce fees he calls "hidden taxes that make it harder for small businesses and non-profits to survive." Within hours, Kiffmeyer did just that, sending out a fax to news organizations at 10 pm that announced the elimination of a $20 business filing fee for expedited counter service--a move she touted as equivalent to a "$1 million-per-year tax cut."
The fees "simply padded the state's general fund," she said. In a 2005 interview with Minnesota Law & Politics she boasted about that padding: "My office actually generates 150% more back to the General Fund than what it takes to run the office. We're a money maker for the state." The office collects around $14 million each year in fees, but operational costs only take up around $6 million, Kiffmeyer says. The about-face, while seeming abrupt, really wasn't, says Kiffmeyer representative Shaun Denham. "This is something we've been planning on doing for months."
[Cross-posted at Minnesota Monitor.]