At the zero hour of passing a bill that would legalize aerial fireworks in Minnesota, Governor Dayton pull out his veto pen and struck down the law. In a move that has many Minnesota fireworks fans in an uproar, there are many unanswered question on the motivation of this move. While many point to key backers, supporters, and union delegates, one can only wonder how a democrat who should love the additional tax revenues that these types of fireworks would bring to the state could possibly have overturned the bill.
His claimed position that fireworks injuries from aerial fireworks are what motivated him is simply stunning. Independent studies have shown that anyone interested in using “illegal” fireworks in Minnesota simply drive across the state line to either Wisconsin or North and South Dakota to get the items they desire. While there are supposed fines in the law books for possessing or using these types of explosive or aerial fireworks, it is abundantly clear that the harshest penalty most violators face is the loss of their items.
Additionally, we lose an estimated $1.2 million dollars in sales tax revenues to these bordering states, with essentially no decrease In the availability or use within the borders of Minnesota. This has led many constituents to wonder if Dayton is getting kickbacks or campaign donations from out-of-state fireworks retailors; the largest advocates against legalizing their sale in Minnesota because of the huge influx of income the current laws provide.
And then there are the facts about fireworks injuries in the first place. Governor Dayton cited “31 fireworks injuries in Minnesota in 2011”, but neglected to mention that 29 of these were caused by ordinary sparklers. Let’s face it, folks, sparklers are the only item that burns at 1200 degrees that you hand to a toddler. The idea that something that detonates 50 feet in the air is somehow more dangerous than that is simply mind-boggling.
If you feel the same way about Minnesota fireworks laws that most Minnesotans do, please contact Governor Dayton and let your opinion be heard. You can contact him through his website here: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Together, we can bring some common sense to the state and some much needed sales tax revenue without needing to up the tax rates.