Sunday, November 18, 2007

DFL Misreading the Voters

Tarryl Clark uses this press release to essentially place all the blame on Minnesota's weakening economy on Gov. Pawlenty's shoulders. The sad truth is that the DFL should accept responsibility for attempting to ruin Minneosta's economy by proposing crippling tax increases to pay for their unsustainable spending increases. Here's one paragraph that got a chuckle out of me:

“Minnesota’s economy continues to struggle, but the governor refuses to do his part to lend a hand,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud. “Each month, Minnesotans are seeing more and more job opportunities disappear. It is imperative that we do whatever we can to jumpstart our state’s economy.”

I emailed Tarryl a couple weeks ago with the suggestion that the DFL work with Gov. Pawlenty to cut taxes next session. I still haven't gotten a reply from her on that, nor do I expect one considering the subject matter. The DFL hates GOP-proposed tax cuts almost as much as Superman hates Kryptonite or vampires hate wooden stakes.

I'd just like to second Gov. Pawlenty's quote about maintaining Minnesota's prosperity:

“What my DFL friends don’t understand is you can’t government your way to
prosperity. You have to have a real economy,” he said. “So their answer is ‘We’d
have a better economy if the governor would spend more government money on
projects and raise taxes’?”

Here's proof that the DFL hasn't figured out that "you can’t government your way to prosperity":

“The governor has opposed the Legislature’s attempt to help create jobs,” said Sen. Clark. “He vetoed the bonding and tax bills, which would have brought thousands of new jobs to the state. He also opposed long-term investments in transportation and education that are critical to starting an economic revival. The transportation bill itself would have created 60,000 jobs.”

Here's a refresher on last session's Transportation Bill:

The proposed 10-cent-a-gallon gasoline-tax increase moving through the Minnesota Legislature could end up being higher than that, maybe more than twice as high.

Tucked away in a big transportation funding bill being fast-tracked to a Senate floor vote today are future increases in Minnesota’s gas tax that could push it from 20 cents a gallon to more than 40 cents over 10 years, higher than any state’s current bite at the pump.

“I’m not trying to fool anybody,” said Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, sponsor of the measure that would increase funding for roads and transit by $1.5 billion a year once it was fully implemented in the next decade. “There’s a lot of taxes in this bill.”

Here's a better recap of what's in the bill:
  • Higher registration renewal fees on future new car purchases, but no increases on currently owned vehicles.
  • A half-cent rise in the general sales tax in the seven-county Twin Cities area, imposed without a voter referendum, plus a $20 excise tax on new vehicle sales in the metro.
  • Local-option authority for half-cent sales-tax increases in the rest of Minnesota, subject to voter approval.
  • Authority for all 87 counties in the state to impose a $20-per-vehicle annual wheelage tax. Three suburban counties levied the current maximum of $5 per vehicle last year.
  • Increased fees for leased vehicle registrations, license plates, titles and drivers’ licenses, plus a $20 reinstatement fee for a license suspended for theft of gasoline.
Please tell me how this Transportation Bill will create a net a 60,000 job increase. How will it accomplish that when people will be leaving the state in droves? The message from the school levy elections wasn't nuanced. It was quite clear. It said that voters were tired of the annual tax increases & that they weren't going to take it anymore. They were tired of being treated like the DFL's ATM machines.

The DFL is free to ignore that message but they do so at their own peril. The DFL is attempting to ignore the message that Rockville citizens are sending, too. That'll lead to their demise:

Resident unrest is growing in Rockville, and some say it reflects how officials have managed the city since its 2002 consolidation with Rockville Township and Pleasant Lake. Some are worried about taxes or assessments they are paying or will have to pay. Others point to the new City Hall and fire station as excess spending and worry about the financial burden placed on residents. It’s prompted about 55 households on the south end of town to petition to withdraw from the city and join Maine Prairie Township.

Spurred by a controversial road assessment policy and general dissatisfaction, petitioners will go before the City Council for the first time tonight. At the meeting, officials also will consider approving assessments on two road projects: Stearns County Road 82 and Stearns County Road 8. It’s the first implementation of the policy that prompted residents to picket City Hall, hire a lawyer and meet with state

Tarryl seems oblivious to the fact that people won't tolerate another major tax increase. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the voters wanted a real property tax cut more than anything else & that they'd accept a cut in the marginal income tax rates to boot. Here's the final ironic Tarrylism:

Sen. Clark said the Legislature must focus on passing a new bonding bill, a
transportation finance package to fix the state’s roads and bridges, as well as a new tax bill aimed at spurring job growth and reducing property taxes soon. Many other strategies to promote growth in the emerging bioscience and renewable-energy industries should be examined, according to Sen. Clark.

Last session's tax bill would've created the highest marginal tax rates for small businesses in the nation. It would've driven up state commercial property taxes, too. There isn't any doubt that those tax increases would've driven small businesses out of the state, too. Despite all that, Tarryl wants us to believe that the DFL tax increases will create prosperity? I won't buy into that.

When Bill Clinton increased taxes in 1993, the economy was growing. Increasing taxes when the economy is weakening isn't smart policy. Increasing taxes at that time will hasten, deepen & lengthen the coming recession.

During W's first term, Democrats complained about the middle class squeeze. If they were to pass, the DFL's tax increases on small businesses would be the ultimate middle class squeeze because it'd drive up unemployment. If you want to see what massive tax increases does for an economy, just look at Michigan's. The only thing preventing Michigan from sliding into a deeper recession is the new $600 million business tax cut to draw new businesses to the state.

Listen to this:

The Governor’s new plan, the Michigan Business Tax, was developed on the
following principles:

  • Create a business tax with the broadest base and the lowest tax rate
  • Provide substantial personal property tax relief to industrial and
    commercial taxpayers
  • Eliminate the tax on payroll, benefits and health care
  • Preserve economic development tools to help attract new jobs and investment
  • Spread the tax fairly to all types of business organizations while
    maximizing the number of businesses receiving a tax cut
  • Ensure stable funding to protect citizens from higher taxes or huge cuts in
    education, health care or public safety while preserving the $600 million
    business tax cut that takes effect this year
  • Make the tax simple
That's the polar opposite of what Tarry's DFL wants to do. When I emailed Tarryl, I'm certain that she thought it was a prank email. It wasn't. I firmly believe that cutting Minnesota's taxes right now would give our economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

Simply put, it's time that Minnesotans told the DFL that we can't afford their destructive tax increases. It's time we told Tarryl that "you can't government your way to prosperity."

The only thing you can government your way to is to pay off your political allies.

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