Throughout the years, the DFL has proposed a number of temporary tax increases. Some, like the state sales tax, are still with us nearly half a century later. A hefty percentage of those taxes were renewed because the DFL could always find another ‘investment’ to use the money on.
When Speaker Thissen announced the House DFL’s proposal for an income tax surcharge, the first question people should’ve asked was whether they trusted Thissen and the DFL enough to believe this surcharge wouldn’t be extended in the name of ‘investing’ in this or that DFL special interest ally wish list item.
Minnesota House Democrats are asking the state’s highest earners to dig even deeper to bail out the state from its financial woes, proposing a temporary income tax surcharge that would catapult Minnesota to one of the nation’s highest taxed states.
House DFLers want the top 1 percent of earners, those netting more than $500,000, to come up with about $854 million over the next two years to repay public schools. The move would smooth out the state’s finances and allow DFLers to make good on a signature campaign pledge. The surcharge could blink off sooner if the debt was repaid earlier.
The more likely scenario is that the DFL budget won’t balance and that they’ll extend the tax surcharge to balance the budget.
People are taxed enough already. If the DFL passes this surcharge, that will be another tax increase on successful small businesses. When 2012 ended, an onslaught of tax increases kicked in as a result of the ACA. Then the Obama tax hike jacked the top federal income tax rate from 35% to 39.6%. That’s just the federal tax increases. Add to that Gov. Dayton’s creating a new top tax bracket that raises the top rate from 7.85% to 9.85%. Add into that Speaker Thissen’s tax increase, which might kick Minnesota’s top tax rate into the 11% range.
This statement is disgusting:
“The bill we owe toward schools is past due,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis. “And the right thing to do is to pay them back.”
Speaker Thissen’s statement is disgusting in its dishonesty. The GOP legislature passed a bill last year that would’ve paid off the school shift last year. Then-Rep. Thissen voted against it. Then Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill. Speaker Thissen isn’t being honest about this. If he was so worried about paying off the school shift, he should’ve voted for the GOP bill last year.
This is just his attempt to institute another tax increase under the guise of it being temporary. Why trust someone who supposedly supports paying off the school shift now but didn’t a year ago? What was the transformative event that caused him to change positions? Was it his getting the Speaker’s gavel? That isn’t likely because he was silent when Gov. Dayton unveiled his Mulligan Budget. Both of Gov. Dayton’s proposed budgets called for paying off the school shift in 2017.
Why didn’t Speaker Thissen speak out then about the need to pay off the school shift quickly?
What’s likely is that Speaker Thissen waited for the dust to settle to propose another tax increase. He watched the firestorm that Gov. Dayton’s sales tax increase created. It isn’t a stretch to think that he’s hoping people will let him off the hook by calling the tax increase temporary.
In 2006, I wrote this post about Mike Hatch’s acceptance speech after getting the DFL endorsement for governor:
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.”
I wrote then that people shouldn’t trust Hatch when he said he’d increase “state investments” without raising taxes. I simply asked “Does anyone believe him”?
Speaker Thissen’s saying this income tax surcharge is temporary is another moment where Minnesotans of all political stripes should ask whether they believe Thissen.
I won’t trust people that didn’t care about the school shift a year ago, didn’t care about paying off the school shift as recently as February but who suddenly is the champion of paying off the school shift ASAP now that a tax increase is attached to it. In situations like this, it’s wise to remember Cy Thao’s now-infamous admonition:
When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.
Thao isn’t more liberal than Thissen. He’s just more honest than Thissen.