If there’s anything that jumps off the pages of this article about the candidates in HD-15B, it’s that DFL candidate Brian Johnson is a cookie cutter liberal spendaholic while GOP candidate Jim Newberger is a fiscal conservative whose first priority is to be the taxpayers’ watchdog:

Newberger and Johnson have differing views on statewide issues such as how to resolve a projected $1.1 billion state deficit for the next two years. Newberger says he’s committed to balancing the budget without tax increases, while Johnson says he’d consider tax increases on the wealthy as part of a budget solution.

The latest revenue projections for the upcoming biennium are estimated to be north of $36,000,000,000, which is almost $2,000,000,000 more than they’re spending this biennium. The thought that we’ll need to increase spending by more than $2,000,000,000 is silly. That’s a 6% spending increase. It’s imperative that we not return to the DFL’s reckless spending habits.

In 2007, the DFL legislature took over with a $2,163,000,000 budget surplus and with the rainy day fund full. When the legislature was sworn in in 2009, there was a $5,000,000,000 deficit and the rainy day fund had been drained completely. That’s a $7,200,000,000 swing.

When the GOP legislature took over in January, 2011, they were staring at a $6,200,000,000 deficit. Eighteen months later, that $6,200,000,000 deficit had turned into a $1,500,000,000 surplus. More importantly, the GOP legislature had started changing the structure of state government.

To address the state budget deficit, Johnson says he supports a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. Johnson says he favors Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal to increase income-tax rates on the wealthiest Minnesotans.

Imagine that. A Democrat that thinks raising taxes on small business owners is smart. As revealing as that paragraph is, this paragraph is more revealing:

“I represent my party,” Johnson said. “But I know that the ultimate goal is to find a successful resolution with the other party.”

That’s stunning. Call me naive but isn’t a legislator’s first responsibility to represent his constituents? I can’t imagine that governing principle will appeal to voters in HD-15B.

This won’t sit well with the voters in HD-15B either:

He opposes both constitutional amendments going before voters this fall, calling them distractions. One proposed amendment would define marriage in the state Constitution as between one man and one woman, and the other would require voters to show photo identification, end voter vouching and make other voting changes.

“I’d prefer to focus on the real issues that are affecting Minnesotans,” Johnson said.

Apparently, Mr. Johnson thinks that this type of voter fraud isn’t a “real issue affecting Minnesotans.” Good luck explaining that during the next debate, Mr. Johnson.

I always projected this district as an uphill fight for the DFL. Based on these quotes, I don’t see a reason to change my mind on that projection.

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One Response to “Johnson vs. Newberger: spendaholic vs. fiscal sanity”

  • eric z says:

    Confirming the adage, all politics is local. And it is good to see you focusing that way in a few of the new posts, Gary.

    It is good to not lose sight of that adage.

    I have leaf raking to do before the snow; and the politicians seem to be aggressively leaf raking too.

    Think of the multiplier boost that phone bank spending ripples through the economy. Elections are good for business, for the velocity of the money supply. Regardless of whoever is left standing after election day.

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