Return of “Pawlenty Fees”

100 BillsRemember the “smoke and mirrors” budgeting during the Pawlenty years? Looks like with the return of the House to GOP control, the dreaded “it’s a fee not a tax” is back:

From Kyle Potter of the Associated Press:

“Minnesota lawmakers kept tax levels steady but still found ways to scoop up millions of additional dollars in its next two-year budget….More than a dozen new fees and increases for business licenses are tucked away in the thousands of pages that compose Minnesota’s new budget, from additional fees for beauty salon employees and funeral directors to higher state fees dairy manufacturers pay when they purchase milk from farmers starting Aug. 1…It’s a frequent play by tax-averse politicians, who direct the revenue to pay for that industry’s oversight rather than tap precious general tax dollars….The state doesn’t track the total scope of new fees — the money gets socked away in dedicated regulatory funds — but estimates on some of the individual increases add up to more than $6 million in new revenue.”