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That’s Tarryl Clark’s lament according to this MPR article:

“This is it. And unfortunately I think people have been led to believe that we’re awash in new money and that we can do many good things. I think it’s definitely the wake-up call that we can’t do many good things; not with these kinds of dollars,” according to Clark.

Let me offer this suggestion to the DFL: If you want to do “good things”, why not start with cutting our taxes, especially property taxes? Better yet, why not eliminate wasteful spending? Or perhaps adopt a family-friendly budget that tells the lobbyists that they don’t get everything on their wish lists? If you did that, they’d have working families on their side.

Instead, they promise their special interest friends the world during the campaign, then break their promises a couple months into session. I find Tarryl’s quote rather disingenuous when she says “I think people have been led to believe that we’re awash in new money and that we can do many good things.” I’d love hearing Tarryl’s explanation on who “led to believe that…we can do many good things.” Did Republicans promise the moon in terms of significant spending increases during last fall’s campaign? Or did the Boogey Man behind the curtain promise the DFL’s special interest buddies a pot of gold if they got elected?

Even though there is increased spending, several committee chairs aren’t happy. “It’s a bare bones, inflation-only target,” said Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul. Pappas chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Three-hundred-million dollars is earmarked under the Senate plan for higher education. But Pappas doesn’t think it’s enough and is worried tuition will go up even more than anticipated.

“In my mind, I’m able to keep the systems whole, but they’re not getting enough resources to hold down tuition,” she said. “If I had more money and could give them more, they could hold down tuition or I could put more money into financial aid, but there certainly isn’t any new money for new initiatives for moving the state forward in the higher education area.”

A three hundred million dollar education spending increase is a “bare bones inflation-only target”?!? These DFLers make drunken sailors look like timid models of moderation. Why does Sandy Pappas think that universities might have to raise tuitions again? Every Minnesotan wants a quality education product but I’d bet the ranch that they don’t believe universities are starved in terms of financial resources & I’d bet that they don’t think that tuition increases are justified, especially a major spending increase is heading their direction.

Fortunately, a voice of sanity is speaking like the average voter:

But Charlie Weaver says he doesn’t think that strategy will work. Weaver, who is former chief of staff to Gov. Pawlenty, says he thinks most Minnesotans agree with the governor that a tax increase isn’t needed.

“If a bare-bones budget is presented, but raises spending 9 percent, which is what the governor’s does, most people aren’t going to scream and say ‘that’s not enough spending,’ because frankly that’s more spending than most of them have,” Weaver said.

Unfortunately, someone’s itching to increase Weaver’s taxes:

Weaver is the CEO of the Minnesota Business Partnership which represents more than 100 of the state’s largest companies. Some of those companies may be expected to pay more if the Senate Taxes Committee chair has his way. Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, says he won’t be able to use any of the surplus money for property tax relief. He says that means he’ll look for other ways to reduce the property tax burden.

Bakk says two of the options are closing a tax loophole on businesses with operations outside the country and increased tax enforcement.

“If we’re going to do any new tax expenditures that offer tax reductions for people, we will have to raise money on the opposite side of the ledger in the tax bill to pay for it so it remains revenue neutral,” Bakk said.

Expect this fight to continue into this summer. Expect the DFL to use these things to blame Republicans when the DFL doesn’t finish its work in time & they’re called into a special session.

It’s worth one last look to compare the DFL’s budget proposals to Gov. Pawlenty’s proposed budget:

Gov. Pawlenty wants to increase the amount in the state’s ‘rainy day fund’ to over three quarters of a billion dollars while still providing property tax relief & keeping the other tax rates stable. The DFL wants to double the size of the state’s rainy day fun to over $1.2 billion while either scrapping desperately-needed property tax relief or providing desperately-needed property tax relief while dramatically increasing corporate & small business taxes.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that the DFL’s budget & tax plans are shared by a majority of Minnesota voters.

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