On behalf of the Civil Justice Coalition, I would like to recognize Rep. Larry Howes for his vote in favor of joint and several liability reform. A long-standing priority of businesses, local governments, school districts and non-profit organizations, this legislation raised the threshold of fault from "more than 15 percent" to "more than 50 percent" before a party can be held liable for 100 percent of lawsuit damages when other defendants cannot pay. Defendants found 50 percent or less at fault are now only responsible for damages equal to their percentage of fault.
Minnesota employers, local governments, school districts and non-profits -- often the target of lawsuit abuse for their perceived "deep pockets" will be less likely to be pulled into lawsuits. Injured citizens will obtain faster justice as the result of the reduced number of questionable lawsuits clogging our courts.
Raising the threshold of fault for joint and several liability brings Minnesota in line with 39 other states in the country. Thanks again for the leadership of this legislator.
David C. Olson
Chair, Civil Justice Coalition
President, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, followed always by a dictatorship." (Alexander Fraser Tytler).
Thomas Jefferson stated, "A wise and frugal government ... shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned ... Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated ... Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass it through so many new hands?" James Madison said, "A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species."
President Bush presented a "jobs for growth" tax relief package to Congress that was cut to $550 billion by the House and $350 billion by the Senate. In both cases, liberal lawmakers seek to "buy" votes using their mantra that the richest benefit most from tax cuts. The president's package would have cut taxes for all taxpayers, since all who pay taxes deserve the cut. But not according to the liberals, who see giving the higher bracket taxpayers relief that would allow them to stimulate the economy by purchases and/or to strengthen businesses, thereby increasing job potential, somehow obscene. Yet, this is what Presidents Kennedy and Reagan did. The economy grew; people prospered.
We need tax reform, but won't find it while our tax policy is engineered by people who view taxes as their means of buying votes.
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