According to this AP article Minnesota DFLers have “tested the limits of their legislative power in the face of Pawlenty’s veto threats.” That’s a rather clever way of avoiding saying that they’ve gone stark-raving mad.

The Minnesota Senate approved what would be the nation’s highest tax bracket for upper income levels on Saturday, but the legislation has little chance of becoming law.

Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty has promised to block the tax hike, which inflamed GOP senators and was also rejected by seven Democrats. The tax proposal was part of an education funding package that passed 35-29, just one vote above the bare minimum needed.

“When you read the papers and hear that Minnesota might be number one in the country in a particular tax bracket, I’m very uncomfortable with that,” said Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury, one of five first-term DFLers who voted against the bill.

Sen. Saltzman, why haven’t you been against all of the tax increases? It sounds like she just figured out that people are mightily upset with the Senate DFL for proposing to increase their taxes in a time of surplus. There isn’t a group of people that the DFL would spare from their tax increases. People noticed that. They’re mad as hell & they aren’t going to take it anymore. Now it’s the Right Blogosphere’s job to start turning that anxiety into votes for GOP candidates.

“This is an investment in our future,” said Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis. “This is an investment in our children.” Pogemiller said Senate Democrats are holding out for property tax relief and a permanent increase in education funding this year. But he wouldn’t elaborate on what a compromise might look like or how it would be brokered by the May 21 deadline for adjournment.

Larry Pogemiller would have you believe that everything is for “the children.” Taxpayers aren’t that gullible. This tax increase is a pay off to Education Minnesota for their GOTV efforts. This is a payoff for Education Minnesota’s campaign contributions.

My good friend King Banaian says that he gets a kick hearing about the DFL’s “investments.” King says that the DFL always ‘invests’ other people’s money. I’d add that they only ‘invest’ in their political allies’ pet projects.

There’s an intentional deception happening here. It’s something that nobody’s talked about so I’ll start the conversation here. Remember the budget projecting a $2.2 billion surplus? Remember that the updated forecast showed a surplus of $2.163 billion? Why didn’t the DFL campaign on massive tax increases & huge spending increases? Surely they knew that the forecast was pretty accurate. Surely they knew which programs they wanted to increase funding to. You know that they knew with new initiatives they wanted funded.

Remember Sen. Steve Murphy’s quote in the Strib:

“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.”

Nora Slawik knew that she’d be introducing a bill to pay for childcare that costs $140 million the first biennium & over $1 billion in the second biennium. They didn’t campaign on those sorts of things because they knew that if they did, they’d still be in the minority in the House.

I’ve referred often to Mike Hatch’s acceptance speech at the state DFL Convention for a reason. The DFL intentionally tried sounding like fiscal moderates to camouflage their true intentions. Here’s a reminder of what Hatch said:

Hatch gave his task an initial shot in a rambling acceptance speech that punched some of the right buttons. He cast Pawlenty as too stingy with education, responsible for large class sizes and rising college tuition. He tagged him for an inadequate response to soaring health care costs and the emerging biosciences industry. He promised more state investment in those things. Significantly, he said, “we can do this without raising taxes.”

Here’s how it’s playing in the real world:

Senators started their spring break after the floor session, with some thinking about how to explain their votes on the tax-and-schools package. One of them was first-term Sen. John Doll, DFL-Burnsville, who voted no. He said he was concerned about how his constituents would handle the number of tax increases being proposed this year, including a dime-a-gallon gas tax increase.

“It’s a tough vote in that I campaigned on early childhood education needs,” Doll said. But, he added, “I have to look at all of the folks in my district. It’s a balance of trying to meet those additional needs and investments.”

TRANSLATION: I want to vote for this tax & for the increased spending but if I do, I’ll be a one term wonder.

That’s how it’s playing in the suburbs. Don’t be fooled by the message emanating from the WCCO/Strib/MPR echo chamber.

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